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MATCH PREVIEW: The lowdown on Walsall

All you need to know about The Saddlers ahead of our Carabao Cup showdown this evening…

9 August 2022

Club News

MATCH PREVIEW: The lowdown on Walsall

All you need to know about The Saddlers ahead of our Carabao Cup showdown this evening…

9 August 2022

Swindon Town take on Walsall this evening in the First Round of the Carabao Cup.

Here’s a bit of background information on Mike Flynn’s side as we prepare for our showdown at The Poundland Bescot Stadium tonight – kick off, 7.45pm.

Walsall preview…

Founded 134 years ago back in 1888, the club was initially known as Walsall Town Swifts.

They moved to the Football Alliance from the Midland Association the following year, before joining the Football League Second Division in 1892.

In 1901, they failed in their bid to be re-elected into the Football League and spent two decades outside it, plying their trade in the Birmingham and District League – the second time this had happened as they suffered the same fate in 1895.

Invited to help form the Football League Third Division North in 1921, the club would remain in the third tier for the next 37 years before becoming members of the Fourth Division. They won the title in 1959/60 and secured promotion out of the Third Division the following year, although they suffered relegation in 1963 and 1979.

Their yo-yo seasons continued as they won promotion out of the fourth tier in 1979/80, but two successive relegations beckoned after going up to the Second Division at the end of the 1987/88 campaign.

Two further promotions followed in 1994/95 and again in 1998/99 and they spent a further five seasons in the second tier. However, two relegations in three years left the club back in the fourth tier of the pyramid In 2006, but they secured an immediate promotion as League Two champions.

Their first match at Wembley came in the 2015 Football League Trophy Final, which they lost to Bristol City. The following year they missed out on a switch to the Championship by a single point and lost the resulting playoff semi-final against Barnsley.

The Saddlers then ended their 11-year stint in League One as they went down in 2019.

The Stadium…

The Poundland Bescot Stadium is the clubs current home and was opened in August 1990 at a reported cost of around £4.5million.

The ground replaced The Saddlers former base of 94 years, Fellows Park, which was located a quarter of a mile away from where they are now.

The Bescot has a capacity of 11,300 spectators.

How we’ve faired in the Carabao Cup…

Swindon Town have failed to make it past the first round of the competition in each of the five previous seasons.

Last term they suffered penalty disappointment to Cambridge United after a goalless draw, while the season before that Charlton won 3-1 at The County Ground to end their hopes of progressing.

During the 2019/20 campaign, Town were beaten 3-0 at Colchester United and were on the wrong end of a 1-0 score line at home to Forest Green Rovers in 2018.

During the 2017/18 season, goals from Olly Lancashire and Paul Mullin proved in vein as Swindon lost 3-2 at Carrow Road to Norwich City.

Walsall’s form in the Carabao Cup has been similar. Apart from reaching the second round in 2018/2019 after beating Tranmere 3-1 away, they were then beaten on penalties by Macclesfield Town after a six goal thriller during normal time.

In fact, penalties have been a common theme for The Saddlers. Last term Doncaster knocked them out at the first hurdle on spot kicks, with Sheffield Wednesday doing the same the season before.

Back in 2019, Crawley emerged winners at The Bescot 3-2, and back in 2017/18, they were beaten 3-2 on their travels at Sheffield United.

Form between the two sides…

Town currently boast bragging rights when it comes to meetings between the two clubs, having won four of the last five meetings in all competitions.

Their last match up back in May in League Two finished 3-0 to Town at The Bescot, with goals coming from Harry McKirdy and Jack Payne (two).

The league encounter before that at The County Ground saw Town hit Walsall for five without reply, thanks to braces from Louie Barry and Ricky Aguiar, with Jonny Williams also on the scoresheet.

Previous to this, Town recorded two straight 2-1 wins, one in the FA Cup and the other in League Two.

Walsall’s last victory over Swindon was back in April 2017 in League One, when just a single goal was enough to beat Luke Williams charges.

The manager…

Former Newport County boss, Mike Flynn, took the Bescot reins back in February this year, signing a contract that will keep him at the club until 2024.

Flynn took over with the club eighteenth in League Two, and had an instant impact as his side beat the then league leaders, Forest Green Rovers, 1-0 - ending their nineteen game unbeaten run.

Walsall finished last season 16th in League Two.

Newport-born Flynn made 420 league appearances for a total for 14 clubs during his playing days.

Summer recruitment…

Sixteen new faces have arrived at Walsall during a busy summer at the club.

Among them are Tranmere’s Peter Clarke, Tom Knowles from Yeovil and Timmy Abraham from Fulham.

Taylor Allen has arrived from Forest Green, along with Carlisle’s Joe Riley and Brandon Comley from Dagenham.

They’ve also drafted in four loans, with Liam Bennett coming in from Cambridge United, Douglas James-Taylor joining from Stoke City, Flynn Clarke from Norwich and Danny Johnson from Mansfield Town.

Six notable names have left the club, with Emmanuel Osadebe switching to Bradford City and Devante Rodney heading to Rochdale.

Sam Perry and Rory Holden have also opted for pastures new, joining Yeovil Town and Port Vale respectively, while Brendon Kiernan and Rollin Menayese have gone out on loan.

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