"Wanderers in that happy valley"
“The time has come, the walrus said” … for Walsall to re-discover that magical spark that saw us comfortably in the top 6 in League One before embarking on what looks like an inexorable slide towards the kind of position confidently predicted before the season got under way. Our most recent 5 games have yielded a measly 4 points, and if that were not worrying enough those same 5 games have seen us score just the 1 League goal.
Unfortunately for us, Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers side has gathered 10 points from their most recent 5 games, scoring 9 goals in the process. Ainsworth will be remembered by many Walsall supporters for a brief loan stint here in 2002/3, making 5 appearances and scoring one goal. Although the Chairboys are 4 points below us in League One it should be noted that they have scored 5 more goals than we have, and the man to watch out for (well, you can’t miss him, to be fair) is Adebayo Akinfenwa - known as “The Beast”, Akinfenwa appears to defy all conventional wisdom regarding fitness and age … he is now 36 years old, weighs in at around 16 stone, and is Wycombe’s top scorer. Don’t be deceived by his girth - this guy can bench press 200kg (almost double his own weight) and certainly knows where the net is. Another striker to watch (at nearly the same age) is Craig Mackail-Smith, whose exploits at Peterborough saw him scoring 80 goals in 4 years. Current League One form for Wycombe Wanderers:-
Sep 29 Southend United (H) Lost 2-3
Oct 2 Fleetwood Town (A) Drew 1-1
Oct 6 Burton Albion (H) Won 2-1
Oct 13 Coventry City (A) Lost 1-0
Oct 20 Scunthorpe United (H) Won 3-2
Oct 23 Rochdale (H) Won 3-0
It isn’t all doom and gloom for us - Wycombe’s defence is occasionally something less than water-tight, and they have conceded 4 more goals than us … the problem though (of course) is that Dean Keates needs to find the appropriate Walsall strikers who can test that leakiness and SCORE!! Cook, Ferrier and Ismail share our “top scorer” records so far, but everyone seems to have gone off the boil at the same time. The winning mentality that was so evident earlier this season has been superseded by a non-scoring mentality, and fixtures like this one will be quite a test for Keates’ tactical and motivational skills.
Prediction? I can’t see us keeping a clean sheet, but we should be able to squeeze a couple of goals at “Fortress Banks’s”, so hopefully 5pm will see a home win by 2-1 … it would be encouraging to see Andy Cook and Morgan Ferrier as our scorers, but it’s the result that counts and I’d be more than happy to see a recalled Devlin and Ismail netting.
we have got to sort our home form out, because our winning away form is shot, so nothing but a win will suffice 2-0 to the saddlers
Really needs to be a win. Think it will be 2-2 though. Wycombe won their last two and got sumo Akinfenwa upfront who’s in good form. Think they’ll stay up this year.
Arguably the biggest test of our ability to bounce back from bad results so far.
I make it January 2017 since we last won a home league game by more than a 2 goal margin (4-1 v Sheff Utd), about time we put in a really commanding performance at the Bezla.
Battling win for the Saddlers.
Think we all was full of over optimism after our flying start to the season … Been brought back down to reality. Let’s get behind the lads 2-1 Walsall with the crowd behind us. UTS
I can’t come unfortunately, as I’m afraid I just can’t cope with the walking.
Gareth Ainsworth. I thought he was incredible in his brief spell. I remember chanting sign him up when he came back with Wycombe and tore our then Left Back apart.
After a few tough games this has become must win. Not from a league stand point obviously but from a morale stand point. I really think this could be an important game for where we go from here and is as winnable as a league one game can be.
I’d like to see Martin in the team. At Centre Half. That defence just isn’t stable. I like the players individually but it’s crying out for leadership. Fitzwater, who hasn’t been nearly the player he was last season, drops out for me.
Cook (with the proviso that if he hasn’t been any good after 60 minutes he comes straight off for Ginnelly and swaps with Ferrier).
I’d like to see Ferrier out wide as i think Ginnelly and Zeli have been completely ineffective for some time and his crossing at times looks better than Ginos anyway. He likes to pull out wide and can run channels. Maybe more as an inside forward than a winger.
I’d drop Rohan personally. He was ok first half at Southend but was abysmal in the second half. I’d just go back to 4-4-2 with Martin in there for Fitzwater. Ginnelly and Ismail on the wings. Ferrier and Cook up top. Dobbo and Kinsella in the middle. Go back to the formation that brought us success at the start of the season.
Definite must win for me though. Think it’ll really knock them if they don’t win this one.
Normally I’d agree but they’ve done nothing for weeks. If I was Morris and I wasn’t playing this game I’d be mightily upset.
I agree. Morris is unfortunate but he did absolutely nothing Tuesday either. I’d just go back to basics Saturday to what served us well at the start of the season.
True but then again I don’t think anybody covered themselves in glory Tuesday quite honestly. You could make a case for dropping any of them based on that performance.
I’ll be honest as well, I don’t like the 4-4-2. I don’t think we have the central midfielders for it to work long term. If we had someone like, ironically, Keates in there next to Dobson I’d be all for it. Somebody who can effect the game in both areas of the pitch. Osbourne and Kinsella are too defensive and Ronan too offensive. My opinion might change once super Joe comes back in and can go box to box though.
You’ve hit the nail on the head there. For me we desperately need Edwards back.
and Chambers. I would stick with the 4-4-2 with Morris and Ismail on the wings and Cook/Ferrier up front.Martin may not be match ready so I would stick with our usual back four. Surely we are going to take some of the chances we get so I think we will win 3-1.UTS
2-1 win , under duckworth lewis formula., after half time snowstorm.
Indeed he was fantastic. If my timeline is correct, he was one of the first batch of players at the Bescot who had genuine higher league quality (thinking also Ritchie, Corica, Samways), compared to our usual signings around then of decent but unspectacular, hard working league 1 types. I was very disappointed when he went elsewhere.
Hope Leitao has brought his boys with him.
Could we tell the leg ends that the match has been brought forward + 23 hours and play them v WW ?
and play 4-3-3
K Taylor, Roper, J Chambers, Wrack
M Taylor, Keates, Geddis
Byfied, Leito, Birch
I think a narrow 7-6 victory with 4,666 in attendance and free chips for all
Russell Martin starts alongside Guthrie. No Fitz in 18,