Walsall journalist gives insight into what Bristol Rovers can expect from Saddlers on Saturday
Rovers won 3-2 away at Scunthorpe United in midweek and are hoping to continue their four game unbeaten run in the league when they face the men from the Midlands.
Walsall themselves were in midweek action and suffered a home defeat to Bradford City, which extended a bad run of form ahead of their visit to the Mem.
To get a better knowledge of what to expect from Saturday’s opponents Walsall, Joe Edwards, a journalist who covers the Saddlers for the Express & Star gives us an insight into Matty Taylor’s side.
On paper, Walsall appear to be on a bad run of form, what can Rovers expect?
The last few weeks have been tough and there’s no getting away from that. Four straight defeats are always going to hurt and there have been some very poor performances along the way. Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to Bradford City, however, did offer some hope. Walsall put in their best performance of the new year and should have claimed at least a point. Just a familiar lack of ruthlessness came back to haunt them so, hopefully, they can put their chances away at the Mem.
Are there any new signings expected who might be playing which could change the club’s fortunes?
Walsall brought in Donervon Daniels earlier this week and the centre-half enjoyed an impressive debut against Bradford. He looked very assured and his experience stood out. The Saddlers have also snapped up left-back Reece Devine on loan from Manchester United. I fully expect both of those players to start and, fingers crossed, they can help tighten things up at the back. Walsall could do with a clean sheet, having gone five games without one.
Which players should supporters watch out for?
Jack Earing has been Walsall’s most consistent performer this season. He’ll likely play as the most attack-minded of the three midfielders, and he carries the ball well and works hard. Brendan Kiernan at left wing is another who always gives his all. Top scorer George Miller ended a 15-game barren run against Bradford - albeit via a deflection he knew nothing about - and will look to build on that. Keeper Carl Rushworth, on loan from Brighton, is a class act as well.
Darrell Clarke was a popular figure at Rovers, despite his sacking - where does he stand for Walsall fans following his departure?
It is fair to say most Walsall fans do not like him, and they made their feelings clear when they visited Port Vale earlier this term. Having upped sticks for Vale midway through last season, and never really got the Saddlers going as he would have liked during his tenure, he is not revered. Walsall’s 1-0 victory at Vale, fuelled by that, is the vast majority’s highlight of the season so far.