Back to business for the Saddlers tomorrow night, following the enforced lay off at the weekend due to Notts County’s FA Cup obligations.
County went out of the competition at Stevenage on Saturday, unluckily it seems, despite giving a debut to the player they have brough in on loan (and who we were supposed to be chasing), Jonathan Forte. He was replaced at half time in the tie by non other than former Saddler and prize nut case Ishmael Demontagnac!
This is a vital game for the Saddlers, as it is followed on Saturday by a fixture against the team immediately below them in the table, Scunthorpe.
Walsall will, of course, have their new loan signing available for the game, Belgian under 20 captain and creative midfielder, Florent Cuvelier. Hopefully, he should help solve the major problem we have had this season of creating chances.
Dean Smith has no injury worries ahead of the game, with the full squad available.
Meanwhile, Kieron Freeman comes back into the reckoning for Notts County. Freeman, on loan from city rivals Nottingham Forest, was ineligible for the Stevenage game on Saturday having already featured in the competition for the Forest in the previous round.
Julian Kelly made a timely return from a calf injury to replace Freeman at full-back at the Lamex Stadium. Martin Allen must decide whether to recall the Forest teenager or stick with Kelly.
it remains to be seen if Jonathan Forte will start following his substitution at half-time on Saturday. It remains to be seen whether Allen will recall ex Saddler Karl Hawley.
It seems that Lee Hughes will play, however, despite his being charged with sexual assault. He has still been a regular since the story broke in December and must be used to the stick he’s likely to get after everything that’s happened to him.
The Magpies are in mid table, reasonably well clear of the Saddlers, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Despite their reasonable away performance in the Cup at the weekend, they have lost 5 of their last 6 away in the League. While the Saddler’s home form isn’t that great, that should give the home side the edge and a very welcome three points.