Match Preview: v Morecambe (A) Match Preview: v Morecambe (A)

Match Preview: v Morecambe (A)

Here we take a look ahead to the Saddlers' season-opener against Morecambe.
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 open their 2023/24 campaign with an away trip to Morecambe.

PRE-MATCH VIEWS

After a fairly short pre-season, we've reached the start of the Saddlers' 2023/24 League Two campaign, and we're excited about what could be.

Securing the services of last season's top scorer Danny Johnson on a permanent basis was just one of several 'statement of intent' signings during what has to go down as one of the better pre-season's in recent memory.

With the likes of defenders Priestley Farquharson and Chris Hussey, midfielders Ryan Stirk and Ross Tierney, and strikers Johnson, Douglas James-Taylor, Freddie Draper, and Aramide Oteh the team is packed with potential, and seems to be well balanced, though many social media experts are still calling for more fresh faces.

A quality-over-quantity approach was taken to the Saddlers' pre-season schedule, with the Reds only playing four times, aside from the odd training ground contest, and, although it's only really about fitness and tactical tweaking, they remained undefeated, including a welcome one-all draw with Aston Villa.

Whilst Head Coach Mat Sadler lacks managerial experience, the gaffer enjoyed an extended playing career and has already collected a plethora of coaching badges as he clearly prepared himself for life on the other side of the touchline.

We're painfully aware of just how bad things can go, even on the back of seemingly steady times, so are reticent to don the rose-tinted spectacles just yet, but are pleased with the direction the club appears to be in and, whether this season becomes one of minor progress or promotion, we've certainly started to lay the foundations for success. Here's to 2023/24!

WALSALL TEAM NEWS

Walsall will be without on-loan Lincoln City striker Freddie Draper after he was sent off in his last game in Ireland playing for Drogheda, whilst defender Rollin Menayese and midfielder Jack Earing are out as they continue to recover from last season's injuries.

POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP


Evans

Daniels   Farquharson   Hussey

Riley   Stirk   McEntee   Gordon

Hutchinson

Matt   Johnson


OPPOSITION NEWS

Opponents Morecambe suffered relegation from League One last season and will be looking to stamp their mark on the Saddlers as they hope to return to the third tier at the first time of asking.

Sadly, their dreams of an immediate return may well be just that as, along with an ongoing financial squeeze, the Shrimps have seen many of last season's squad depart for pastures new and, whilst they have added several strong signings, including Partick Thistle striker Cammy Smith, many pundits believe they'll struggle to do much more than survive the coming campaign.

After winning two of their five pre-season outings, including a 10-1 triumph over Burscough, Derek Adams' side hasn't really shown much of themselves so far and will have to be respected as they Saddlers have suffered their fair share of opening-day defeats.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

There have only been five competitive meetings between the Saddlers and Shrimps, and it's Morecambe who hold a comfortable head-to-head lead having won on three occasions compared to the Saddlers' solitary triumph.

The first meeting was a Johnstones Paint Trophy clash which took place at the then-Globe Arena on Tuesday, 1st September 2015, and saw Morecambe win by two-goals-to-nil as Jamie Devitt and Tom Barkhuizen netted in the second forty-five.

THE LAST TIME WE MET

The most recent match took place at the Banks's Stadium on Saturday, 1st May 2021 and once again saw Morecambe win two-nil as Cole Stockton and former Walsall loanee Yann Songo'o scored in either half.

MATCH OFFICIALS

The EFL has confirmed that Durham-based Martin Coy will be the man in the middle as the Saddlers and Shrimps season gets underway at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium.

Obviously, as this will be the opening game of the season, Coy is yet to take charge of a competitive outing, but looking to last season we see that he took charge of just seventeen games and saw fit to issue a yellow card on forty-seven occasions along with three reds and five penalties.

Matthew Sowerby and Karl Buckley have been named assistant referees, whilst Declan Brown will act as Fourth Official.

CATCH THE MATCH

If you're not planning on going to the game you can catch the match via the club's in-house service - iFollow Walsall - which takes you through the highs and lows of every Saddlers game.

Not an iFollow Walsall subscriber? There are a range of options available, including monthly, annual, and gift subscriptions. For further information on the service, or to set up your subscription, click HERE.
Don't forget you can keep up to date with the latest Walsall FC news and views across social media, we're on 𝕏, Facebook, Threads, and Instagram. We also offer updates via Google News.
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