A I said in the Trust Walsall Advertiser column this week, we are in a very unusual position this weekend, for us. We may be used, in recent seasons, to relegation six pointers, but tomorrow, we have a promotion six pointer.
Realistically, of course, that long stretch without a win in October and November has left us too far behind the top six to have a really decent chance of making the play offs, but, it has to be said, several of the teams above us have shown a case of the severe wobbles in recent weeks, one of them, the Franchise, to the extent that they are now below us in the table. We go tomorrow, therefore, to Brentford, a team just above us in the table, and a win would leave us just three points behind them. Of the others, Doncaster, Yeovil, Bournemouth and Sheffield United are all playing each other. Interesting, isn’t it?
Dean Smith has got Aaron McCarey back on loan to replace the recalled Rectangle, but is also making encouraging noises about Grof. I think McCarey will get the nod, however. His other problem is right back, where Purkiss will be back, which is a good job, as both players who can cover, Chambers (J) and Taundry, are injured. Purkiss’s return is also welcome for another reason. Board member Bernie pointed out this week that our record is: With Purkiss this season: P26 W14 D4 L8 Pts per game 1.77 – comfortable play-off form. Without Purkiss this season: P12 W0 D7* L5 Points per game 0.58 – relegation certs.
Brentford have been spending the cash on loans to bolster their seemingly flagging play off hopes and could hand debuts to their new signings, defender Liam Moore and striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Jake Reeves (concussion) should be fit, but Farid El Alagui (knee) and Kevin O’Connor (ankle) are still out.
A tough one for the Saddlers, even if the Bees’ form has been a little hit and miss of late. They didn’t get a good tanking off Chelski in the Cup either, which might have demoralised them a little. However, Bournemouth in their long unbeaten run and Doncaster away weren’t easy, either. We are quite capable of taking the points tomorrow, even with their reinforcements. It may just hinge on how well we can cope with the new partnership of Wright Phillips and Donaldson.