"As swift as breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe"
(Shakespeare … with apologies to “Tinned”)
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse we welcome Mansfield Town with their clutch of ex-Saddlers all determined to demonstrate our folly in letting them go to pastures new. The trio of Malvind Benning, Matt Preston and Andy Cook are all regulars in the Stags’ squad, but there should be motivation a-plenty in Darrell Clarke’s selections if only for the fact that a Walsall win would enable us to leapfrog our opponents in the League 2 table. The two clubs have both conceded 21 goals this term, but Mansfield Town have scored more than ourselves (who hasn’t?), with 22 goals to our 10. Current League 2 form for the Stags:-
Sep 21 Port Vale (A) Drew 2-2
Sep 28 Plymouth Argyle (H) Lost 0-1
Oct 5 Grimsby Town (A) Won 0-1
Oct 12 Oldham Athletic (H) Won 6-1
Oct 19 Forest Green Rovers (A) Drew 2-2
Oct 22 Salford City (H) Lost 1-2
There is a further connection between the two clubs, this time on the managerial side - Stuart Watkiss was Mansfield Town’s manager back in 2002, for a year, before making way for Keith Curle.
The burning questions for Saturday’s game can be crystallised into the following … (a) Are any of our “crocks” ready to leave the physio’s table and show us what they can (or can’t) do on the pitch? … (b) Are the players assessed as “weak minded” going to be given a rest? … © Has enough "gelling" taken placed yet so that a settled side can be formed? The answers to these questions, and others, may (or may not) surface in a couple of days!
Prediction? It may well be time to turn current practice on its head, so rather than forecasting a win or a creditable draw (only to be disappointed) let’s say that this game looks to be a 0-2 home defeat … it will be a pleasure to be proved wrong again!!!