With regular Neil being missing more than Byfield, it’s another Metfanwy preview this weekend. Thanks, Bangor!
Tuesday nights performance against non-league outfit Fleetwood Town left a lot to be desired, with many Walsall supporters still unhappy with the way the team is playing. An unconvincing 2-0 win was played out in front of a small crowd, with two moments of class from Reuben Reid the difference.
So we head into tomorrow’s Coca Cola League One game against a confident Carlisle United side, who are currently on a 5 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Last weekend saw the Cumbrians run out 3-2 winners over early season promotion favourites Southampton: no mean feat.
Carlisle come into the game with a close to full strength outfit. Highly rated striker Gary Madine went off in the victory over Southampton with a slight knock, but makes the squad for Saturday’s game. The only real selection issue for Carlisle will be whether James Chester will continue in the left back role.
The impressive part about Carlisle’s recent form is that the extremely experienced midfield duo of Graham Kavanagh (our old friend) and Paul Thriwell have been missing due to injury. Quality left-back Sean McDaid (former Doncaster Rovers) is out, as well as striker Richard Offiong. Players to look out for include deadly striker Francois Zoko and creative midfielder Matty Robson, who will cause problems.
What about us? Darren Byfield has been set back in his comeback from injury, and will be out for a further month. Clayton MacDonald, Jon Macken and Martin Devaney have been struggling with injuries, and may make the game. One player absent from the midweek win over Fleetwood was Ryan McGivern due to first team duty for North Ireland and he will still be unavailable due to suspension. William Grigg also returns from International duty, but he never plays. Andy Butler should make his Bescot bow, after missing the FA cup tie due to his ineligibility.
Carlisle should therefore line up: Collin, Simek, Murphy, Michalik, Chester, Taiwo, Berrett, Marshall, Zoko, Madine, Grella. It’s a bit trickier to predict how we might play, it is very much dependent who is available after injury. The return of Martin Devaney may push us back into a 442 formation, after the midweek 433.
Hutching’s bemusing quote of the week comes from the E and S. According to Oliver Lancashire: ‘The manager has been saying that we had been playing well and losing’. We haven’t been playing well..and we have been losing. Also, Oliver may have been tired after training for he also came out with this intriguing quote: ‘Carlisle are a similar team to us, with a similar budget I expect, and it’s good to see a team like that doing well. Similar budget? Really?
The money spent on Kevan Hurst and the signing of very good league one players such as Sean McDaid, Paul Thirlwell, Graham Kavanagh and Franky Simek show the Carlisle board have invested in their side with good results. Carlisle are currently 2 points from the automatic promotion places and the their owners should be congratulated. Let’s hope our owner and board of directors can show similar investment and deliver decent football to a public that has been humiliated by performances this season.
Prediction? We have the lowest scoring record in the division – just 15 goals – against the 3rd best defence in the league. The stats suggest we should lose again, but I am going for a draw. My reasons? It surely can’t get any worse.