Match Preview: v Southend United (H) Match Preview: v Southend United (H)
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Match Preview: v Southend United (H)

Here we look ahead to Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Walsall and Southend United.
Don't forget you can join across social media, where we'll bring you all the matchday build-up, in-game updates, and post-match reaction as Darrell Clarke and his Saddlers return to action on Saturday afternoon.

News and Views

Arriving at this weekend's match on the back of a duo of cup exits - an FA Cup elimination at the hands of Bristol Rovers and a late EFL Trophy tragedy at home to Oxford United - Darrell Clarke's Saddlers now have only one competition to worry about and have to begin to make more of their opportunities in front of goal.

Despite their most recent league outing seeing them collect all three points against Crawley Town, the Saddlers have endured a tough time in terms of goals and simply have to be more ruthless if they are to bridge the gap between them and the prized places.

Losing just one of their eleven League Tow matches the Saddlers have already built a promising foundation on which to build upon. Turning just a few of their seven draws into wins would give the table a much more appealing view and, of chances can be taken over the coming days, weeks and months, they could well be set for a triumphant campaign.

However, a continuation of their often lacklustre forward displays and they may well be set for another season in the fourth tier of the English game, and, given the current financial crisis currently putting many clubs at risk of extinction, an extended stay at this level is likely to become increasingly difficult to escape.

Manager Darrell Clarke continues to battle an ever-increasing injury crisis and is likely to call upon a few of his fringe players as he awaits some positive news from Head Physio Marc Czuczman, who is being given plenty of work to do even in this early stage of the season.

Opponents Southend United have endured a dreadful start to the 2020/21 League Two campaign. Losing nine and drawing two of their eleven league outings the winless Shrimpers also went out of the FA Cup and EFL Trophy over the last week.

Looking for some all-important points, the Roots Hall side will pose a major threat to the Saddlers this weekend and have to be respected, especially as the Reds have a proud history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Under pressure manager Mark Molesley is likely to have his side up for the fight, especially as they were thrashed 6-1 by Colchester United in the EFL Trophy during midweek and will have plenty to prove as they visit WS1 this weekend.

Head to Head

There have been eighty-six competitive meetings between Walsall and Southend United and it's the Shrimpers who hold a comfortable head-to-head lead having tasted victory on forty-two occasions, compared to the Saddlers' twenty-five.

There have been nineteen draws over the history of the fixture. A history which began at Fellows Park on Saturday, 29th October 1927 as the two sides met in a Division Three (South) clash which the visitors' won by one-goal-to-nil.

The most recent meeting, a League One clash, took place at Banks's Stadium on Friday, 19th April 2019 and saw interim manager Martin O'Connor secure his first point at the helm as on-loan QPR forward Aramide Oteh slotted home from the penalty spot to deny United the win.

The visitors had put themselves into the lead as then-Southend captain Simon Cox was able to take advantage of a mix-up between defenders Connor Johnson and Dan Scarr before running in behind the backline, flicking the ball past goalkeeper Chris Dunn before tapping home into an empty net. 

Man in the Middle

The EFL has confirmed Craig Hicks, who is based in Surrey, will be the man in the middle as Walsall look to bounce back from their recent cup defeats as they welcome the Shrimpers to WS1.

Chris Isherwood and Ollie Williams have been named as assistant referees whilst Christopher Husband will act as Fourth Official.


Catch the Match

As we're still unable to attend the game in person we can catch the match via the club's in-house service - iFollow Walsall - which takes you through the highs and lows of each and every Saddlers match.

Not a iFollow Walsall subscriber? A range of options are available, including monthly, annual and gift subscriptions along with a £10 video pass which will enable you to watch the match.

You can purchase a subscription, or find further information on the service by clicking HERE.
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