"It was a grand upstanding Bantam (male hen) So brisk and stiff and spry; With a springy step and a jaunty plume And a purposeful look in his eye"
(Jake Thackray song)
Well, what a week this is turning out to be! A most welcome (and unexpected, as the game went on) three points against Coventry City, followed by an equally unexpected win at Sunderland … and just as surprising is the fact that the UTS match previews for both games predicted the scores accurately.
So now it’s off to Bradford City, bottom of the League One table - and just the kind of fixture where we can easily trip up, because despite their dreadful early season form they’ve been showing signs of revival lately, not least of which was putting four goals past Peterborough in their FA Cup replay game this week. Their main Walsall connection is, of course, Richard O’Donnell in goal - and according to an unofficial Bradford City message board he can’t be solely blamed for their dreadful “Goals against” (39) figure … it’s all to do with the awful back 4 in front of him. Another connection in years gone by comes in the shape of Chris Hutchings, who was their manager for 6 months in 2000 before being shown the door. City’s current League One form:-
27 Oct Gillingham (A) Lost 4-0
3 Nov Portsmouth (H) Lost 0-1
17 Nov Peterborough United (A) Drew 1-1
24 Nov Oxford United (H) Won 2-0
27 Nov Luton Town (A) Lost 4-0
8 Dec Plymouth Argyle (A) Drew 3-3
It’s worth bearing in mind that in their most recent 5 League One games Bradford City have gained a total of 5 points … and so have we.
Dean Keates is faced with the old football parable of “Never change a winning side”, but it’s hard to resist the recall of Andy Cook (after suspension) and hopefully George Dobson (injury). Joe Edwards has been selected as a substitute for the last couple of games, so it would seem that he is sufficiently match-fit for a competitive fixture. Meanwhile Liam Kinsella will have done his selection prospects no harm at all after his screamer at Sunderland - perhaps he is the striker we have been looking for for some time?
Prediction? In the fervent hope that this forecaster can rack up a hat-trick of successful scores, let’s go for a 1-2 away win, which would put us within touching distance of the play-off zone.
Based on the seasons so far this should be a comfortable ish away win.
Not sure though. When I look at Bradford squad I’m amazed they’re at the bottom. Richard O’Donnell, Anthony O’Connor, Sean Scannell, Eion Doyle, Jack Payne and David Ball, these are all decent to good league 1 players.
Guess more poor ownership has really taken a toll on them.
They’ve started scoring a fair bit recently, 3 at Plymouth and 4 at home to Posh last night but still can’t win games so you can see which end of the pitch the problems are at.
Sort of game where if Walsall can keep a clean sheet it will be a comfortable win but I’ll go for 2-2.
You watch us lose this. We should win but it’s so Walsall to go unbeaten against one of the best teams in the league in three games and to beat Cov twice on the bounce only to lose to the bottom team.
Cook comes back into the team without question. Not only because he’s head and shoulders our best striker but also because Bradford have bullied us in recent years. Hopefully Dobson is fit too, he’d come in for Osbourne.
I watched Bradford v Portsmouth a few weeks back. They were decent but lacking confidence, as soon as Portsmouth scored the game was over. Slightly worries me that they must be growing in confidence again.
For a few years this has been always felt like a nailed on defeat prior to the game and its nice to feel a little more optimistic (whatever happened to him btw?!) with these Northern giants(!) surprisingly struggling…
I think its going to be a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory with hopefully a few of our fans in attendance to witness it.
Reading some of the posts I find it strange that fans think that we will be bullied, because we have been in the past, but I am sure that the personal players and manager have changed since our last few encounters, so what if they have changed their style of play?