Walsall vs Fleetwood preview: Caught in a nightmare

Exile @ 7:51 pm Monday 15 November 2010

Guest preview by UTS regular, Bangor Cymru Saddler:

Another Monday, another blanket of silence falls over Walsall – with no news of the departure of Chris Hutchings as manager of Walsall F.C. Will this nightmare ever end?

Apparently there is an important match on Tuesday evening, where our multi-talented professional football and management team will attempt to halt the seemingly irreversible decline of Walsall FC with a lucky, hard working, 10 man performance againt the un-lucky Fleetwood Town. There are rumours circulating that we may attempt to get 3 players sent off from the kick-off to get ourselves a boost and improve our chances of winning three-fold – whether this maverick plan will be implemented by our manager remains to be seen.

Fleetwood Town come into this 1st round FA Cup tie on the back of a hard-earned 0-0 draw against Rushden and Diamonds, moving up into 4th place in the Blue Square Premier. A side that is built on a hearty defence, which includes the large and uncomprising centre back pairing of Steve McNulty and loan signing Sean Gregan from Oldham. Elsewhere, a considerable threat will come from first leg scorer Jamie Mullan. Fleetwood will be hoping top scorer (12 goals) Magno Viera will be fit for the tie, and hope to introduce Gareth Seddon back into the first team after missing out the draw against Rushden. Elsewhere, the experienced Peter Cavanagh (former Accrington Stanley) will be hoping to provide good delivery from right-back, with the ex-Villa left back Alan Wright hoping to do the same from the other flank. Another ex-Accrington Stanley player, Ian Craney, will be hoping to provide experience and know-how in the middle of the park.

Walsall come into this game with injury headaches and selection dilemmas. Martin Devaney may be fit enough to return to the fold, but should not be rushed back into action straight away. Jon Macken missed the capitulation to Bournemouth at the weekend and may be available. One player that will certainly be missing is first-leg sending off-ee, Ryan McGivern who has been called up into the full North Ireland squad for their friendly against Morocco. It has been rumoured his exceptional skill in getting sent off to boost the morale of our side was the kicker in Nigel Worthington’s decision. Young talent, Will Grigg will also miss the game due to his under-21 call up for the same home nation. New signing Andy Butler should play after his performance on Saturday against the Cherries, when asked whether Butler did well in the game, Hutchings’ gave a detailed description of his playing career thus far – answering the question, without actually answering the question… let’s see if he plays. Clayton MacDonald may shake off a calf problem – giving Hutchings a selection dilemma.

We should revert back to a 4 4 2 formation for this game, but anything is possible with Hutchings in charge. If we do, which one of our midfield maestros will be dropped? My money is on the untried Paul Marshall, who has been given limited first team opportunities this season. The likely line up is therefore: Walker, Westlake, Butler, Smith, Lescott, Jones, Richards, Taundry, Gray, Dickinson, Reid. Steve Jones coming in for Paul Masrhall – is the only tactical change we can really make – with Jones moving to the right wing, and Reid moving up front to partner the on-fire Liam Dickinson.

Prediction? We really should beat Fleetwood at home, but as we have witnessed this season, anything is possible. If we have worked hard in training all week, watched the DVD several times of the Bournemouth game, said prayer to the giant rabbits foot, placed horseshoe’s all over the Banksss stadium – then we should be ok. But will we be? I predict a scrappy 1-0 win, but do not be surprised if we lose after extra time on penalties.

Regardless of the result, Chris Hutchings should be removed from his position as manager with immediate effect. We are cut adrift at the bottom of the league, with dwindling attendances – Jimmy Mullen was sacked for a lot less. If we want to salvage anything from this season, then we need a complete overhaul of the managerial staff, we need fresh impetus in order to make our climb out of the relegation positions we currently find ourselves rooted in. Over to you Jeff – prove you are the self-confessed number one fan and listen to the overwhelming oppositon to the current manager in charge. The attendance will be an interesting one.


FA Cup – Fleetwood replay ticket info

Exile @ 8:24 pm Tuesday 09 November 2010

Tickets on sale for next Tuesday’s replay at the Banks’s stadium. No cash turnstile for home fans.

Adults £12
Kids and concessions £6
Hospitality £35 to go the whole hog
booking / admin fees may apply

Upper & middle F2G stand closed, away fans in G H & I of the Bite Size stand.

Season ticket holders affected by stand changes can relocate where they so desire (within reason!) as long as they tell the club before gameday.

Fleetwood replay - are you going?
  • I'm not going (67%, 171 Votes)
  • I was going to go anyway (22%, 57 Votes)
  • The cheap tickets have tempted me! (11%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 256

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Youth Team Success
On another cup-related note – huge congratulations to the Youth Team, who are now in the semi-finals of the Midland Youth Cup after beating Port Vale away, 3-2. A hat-trick from Connor Deards sealed the win. Well done Dean Smith and his young charges.

Walsall 0-1 Yeovil: Utter Rubbish

Exile @ 9:17 pm Sunday 03 October 2010

Walsall went down to Yeovil on Saturday.

The Yeovil result. We were:
  • rubbish (93%, 274 Votes)
  • unlucky, punished by a slight mistake (7%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 296

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UTS regular sadders was at the game, with less then 3000 other fans. He had the following to say about our memorable performance:

Worst performance i’ve ever seen as a Walsall fan. Not one positive. Clueless, pathetic, dismal, dreadful, awful, passionless. DIRE! I blame the players as much as i do Hutchings and i blame Bonser more than any of them. Richards, Brain and Macken were decent. Smith is a poor mans Ian Roper on this seasons displays and Nicholls either needs to be played upfront or given a confidence injection, terrible. Reid was anonymous and my gosh, anyone that moaned at Rhys Weston for his constant hoofing, take a look at the defensive displays of Lescott, cant defend never mind hoof!

Pathetic. Abject.

We’re going down

A Glovers fan had this to say: pity

Hutchings must face up to some hard facts. He’s not achieving anything like respectability, he’s not winning any fans over, and he’s not getting the results on the pitch.

Bonser must face up to some hard facts. Crowds are going backwards, the policy of hiring cheap isn’t working, and the PR is all coming from the fans, who are giving up in droves.

It’s difficult to think of anything to add to that, other than to say that the slow death of a beautiful friend is a terrible thing to experience first hand, and observing Walsall’s progress this season is close to that. Emotive? Yes. Over the top? No. This is something of concern to all Walsall fans, whether they spend every game watching the Saddlers or turn up once every few years.

Bottom of the league after what many considered a fixture we had every chance of winning. Bottom of the table after winning only once at home in the league. Propping up the rest after taking just one point from the last 24. This is beyond relegation form, it’s become an embarrassment. Where’s the incentive for a fan to tell his or her mates to come along when they know what’s in store? Where’s the relish in telling a stayaway they missed a treat when the treat is a turd with a smear of rancid icing on top?

What’s worst for me is that the club appear not to see this. Take this quote from Hutchings:

To say it was frustrating would be an understatement. Things are not going our way at the moment and we are being punished for every slight mistake

Chris, you’re right – frustrating is an understatement. I’d say horrifying, terrifying, infuriating, abject and utterly inept before even thinking of saying ‘frustrating’. Chris, you’re right – things aren’t going our way at the moment, and we’re being punished for every slight mistake, but to use a hackneyed old phrase; Chris, you make your own luck. Looks to me like the ‘slight mistake’ that’s resulting in us losing five games for every one we’ve won so far this season is the one Bonser makes every Monday by not sacking you.

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