Posted by: Bescot Banter


This coming Saturday Walsall take on local rivals Shrewsbury Town in Sky Bet League One.
This coming Saturday Walsall take on local rivals Shrewsbury Town in Sky Bet League One.

The Saddlers will once again have a fully-fit squad to select from, manager Dean Smith may choose to remain unchanged from last weekends FA Cup Third Round defeat to Leyton Orient, with right-back Ben Purkiss staking a claim to a permanent starting position following a solid performance.

Defender Paul Downing and midfielder Adam Chambers are one booking away from their fifth of the season and an automatic one-match ban.

The Shrews, who are yet to play a competitive game in December, will be without striker Liam McAlinden who has been recalled by parent club Wolverhampton Wanderers, but will be boosted by the return of defender Jermaine Grandison who has signed a six-month contract with the club after departing in June 2013 after failing to agree terms on a new contract.

On-loan defender Cameron Gayle could face a late fitness teat after the West Bromwich Albion right-back turned an ankle in training.

Winger Jon Taylor could also return following a midweek Reserve game against Wrexham, several other first-teamers also played in that game including, goalkeeper Joe Anyon, Dave Winfield, Dave McAllister, Tom Bradshaw and John Marsden.

The Saddlers have a very good record against their opponents, with eight wins, three draws and just one defeat in the last twelve encounters, the Saddlers held a near seventeen year unbeaten record against the Shrews, dating from August 1995 until October 2012.

Walsall are currently going through something of a baron spell in-front of goal, having notched just six goals in six games, five of those goals coming in the 3-0 FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury and the 2-0 televised win over Peterborough United.

Also of concern is the fairly average form the team are currently in, with seven wins, seven losses and six draws in the last twenty games which includes four defeats and just two wins in the last eight games, Dean Smith will be keen to avoid a repeat of last seasons slump which saw the Saddlers winless in sixteen games.

Saturday's referee will be David Phillips who is based in West Sussex. Phillips has officiated twelve games in various competitions, where he has issued forty-three yellow and two red cards.

Mark Astley and William Smallwood will be running the lines, whilst Mark Duncan will be fourth official.

This article will be updated as we get closer to kick off.
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