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Match Preview: Tranmere Rovers (A)

Here we take a look ahead to the Saddlers' season-opening clash with Tranmere Rovers.
Don't forget to join us across our social media channels where we'll bring you all the matchday build-up, in-game updates, and post-match reaction as the Saddlers return to action.

Pre-Match News & Views

Well, we've reached the opening weekend of the Saddlers' 2021/22 campaign, and it's fair to say the nerves are jangling.

We head into the match with twelve new recruits and an almost completely rebuilt backroom team to get used to.

But, following a season which saw the team secure a worst-ever finish of 19th in the fourth-tier, we welcome the opportunity to start afresh.

A new manager, team and positive atmosphere mean we reach the start of the season in a good place and, depending on how quickly the new players settle in, could be in for a much-improved campaign.

With that being said, it's important to remember that the season isn't build upon the opening day of the season, with many pundits and fans refusing to even look at the league table over the opening few weeks of the season. 

Whatever happens this weekend, we're certainly on the right track. A new backroom team and a refreshed playing squad are just what the doctor ordered, and we look forward to seeing what the team is capable of over the course of the coming campaign.

Looking at the match itself, and it's too early to know where either team stands. The Saddlers have recruited well and go into the campaign with a stronger squad when compared to this time last year.

Tranmere, under the recently-returned Micky Mellon, have also had plenty of success in the transfer market and are among the early favourites to challenge towards the upper reaches of the table.

In terms of team news, attacker Rory Holden is expected to miss out as he continues to recover from a minor knock, whilst fellow injury-lister Alfie Bates played during the Saddlers XI's midweek defeat to the combative Worksop Town.

Ahead of this weekend's clash, we spoke with Ethan Hoijord and discussed how our summer has gone along with a variety of other things, you can read that interview, HERE.

Head to Head

Walsall and Tranmere Rovers have met on seventy-five previous occasions, and it's the Saddlers who hold an overall win/loss advantage, having won thirty-five times compared to Rovers' twenty-five.

There have also been fifteen draws over the history of the fixture, a history which began at Prenton Park on Saturday, 10th September 1921 as the two sides met in a Division Three (North) clash in which the Saddlers won by one-goal-to-nil.

The most recent meeting took place behind closed doors at the Banks's on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 and saw Emmanuel Osadebe grab the only goal of the game midway through the second-half. Jay Spearing was given his marching orders four minutes after the goal, adding to the Superwhite's woes.

Man in the Middle

The EFL has confirmed that Carl Brook, who is based in East Sussex, will be the man in the middle as Walsall make the trip to Prenton Park where they will face Tranmere Rovers in the opening game of their 2021/22 League Two campaign.
 
Entering his second season in the EFL, after being promoted from the National League ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, 45-year-old Brook is beginning his 31st season as a referee.

Carl took charge of twenty-eight games last season and issued one-hundred cautions, three red cards, and ten penalties during a busy campaign.
 
Meanwhile, Christopher Ward and Richard Bartlett have been named assistant referees, whilst Grant Taylor will act as Fourth Official.
 
Catch the Match

You can listen to commentary of 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 an iFollow Walsall subscriber? There are a range of options available, including monthly, annual, and gift subscriptions. You can purchase a subscription, or find further information on the service, by clicking HERE.

Don't forget you can join us across social media, we're @BescotBanter on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also find the very latest Saddlers news and updates on Google News.
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