The excellent win at Oldham on Saturday not only brought the curtain down on as successful a twelve months as I can remember for the Saddlers in a very long time, it also set things up nicely for the New Yearâ€™s Day fixture. Fourth placed Doncaster Rovers are coming to town in yet another stern test for Walsall, sitting nicely on the fringes of the play off spots in sixth and just a single point behind. What we shouldnâ€™t forget, however, is that Sean Oâ€™Driscoll will be seeing this as an even sterner test that Richard Money does. A visit to one of the Divisionâ€™s form teams, with a run of tough fixtures to come (they have Carlisle, Swansea and Leeds to play in January)? Oâ€™Driscoll will be feeling that they need something from this one, especially having lost to the Saddlers at home.
Walsall will, of course, be welcoming back Danny Fox, while Ishmel Demontagnac will be serving his one game suspension for his sending off in the reserves. Despite the fact that Dobson (probably) and Boertien (possibly) should be fit, itâ€™s difficult to see Dicky Dosh making too many changes, so they may be looking at a place on the bench. A lot will depend on the fitness of Tommy Mooney. If the captain is back, Iâ€™d expect a 4 4 2 of:
Ince, Weston, Gerrard, Dann, Fox, Deeney, Wrack, Bradley, Sweeney, Mooney, Ricketts.
That might be seen as a little hard on Richard Taundry, after his excellent performance on Saturday, but if Mooney doesnâ€™t make it, and the Express and Star are saying that this is unlikely, then he might keep his place in a 4 5 1 of:
Ince, Weston, Gerrard, Dann, Taundry, Deeney, Wrack, Bradley, Sweeney, Fox, Ricketts.
Doncaster have a team full of familiar names. Neil Sullivan, Kevin Horlock, Bruce Dyer, James Hayter, Paul Heffernan and Ritchie Wellens have all crossed our path in the past and Hayter, Heffernan, Dyer and their own Lewis Guy can be very dangerous on their day. (It seems Doncaster, like Swansea and Sheffield United, have had a policy of acquiring every striker they can in recent seasons). However, midfielder Paul Green has been the goalscoring hero over Christmas.
Iâ€™d like to thing we could win this one. This run of form we are on breeds confidence and the players must be going into every game thinking they can win it, even against a team above us in the table.
However, during the unbeaten run, we have been going through a sequence of win, draw, win draw, so that points to a draw tomorrow!