Walsall v Peterborough United - Preview
Can Peterborough United make it three wins out of four in February as they travel to mid-table Walsall on Saturday?
Walsall -Vs- Peterborough United
Venue: Banks`s Stadium
Date: Saturday, 18th February, 2017
Posh will be hoping to continue their push for the play-offs when they face Walsall at the weekend.
After a very disappointing January, Posh have got back to winning ways winning two of their three matches this month while narrowly losing one-nil against League One leaders Sheffield United. They are three points and two places outside the play-offs and could sneak back into the play-off places for the first time since mid-December if results go their way.
Posh have picked up more points away from home winning seven of their fifteen League matches while picking up points in three more games which ended in draws. Their recent form has seen them pick up three wins and a draw from their last six League matches. Their last outing saw them win three-nil at Port Vale with two late goals from substitute Junior Morias.
The Saddlers have failed to hit the highs of last season when they just missed out on automatic promotion by one point. They`ve drawn nearly half of their League matches this season and have actually lost fewer games than Posh even though they find themselves seven places below Posh! If the Saddlers had turned just four of those draws into victories then they`d be sitting in the play-offs.
At home, Walsall have won seven, drawn four and lost four matches in the League this season with three of those wins coming in their last three home matches! They`ve beaten the Cobblers (2-1), Bristol Rovers (3-1) and current League One leaders Sheffield United (4-1)! Can Posh stop their run of wins at home?
HEAD TO HEAD
The Saddlers and Posh have met each other 45 times in the League prior to their clash on Saturday but it is the home side that have the upper hand. Walsall have won 18 League matches compared to 13 by Posh. There have been 14 draws in the League including when the sides met earlier in the season.
That clash at the ABAX Stadium saw the sides score a goal each to share the points. The Saddlers started brightly and took the lead when Simeon Jackson was quick off the mark to head home a cross while his marker, Michael Bostwick, was very static! Admittedly, that was probably Bostwick`s only mistake in the match as he had a very good game but that lack of movement proved costly!
Erhun Oztumer made his first return to the ABAX since his departure in the summer and while he seemed the one that made the Saddlers tick most of the game, he was outplayed by the impressive Chris Forrester and Gwion Edwards.
Posh earned a share of the points when a sublime Marcus Maddison shot curled in to the top corner but if Posh were more clinical, they would have easily taken all three points from this match.
Walsall boss Jon Whitney is awaiting news on the injury suffered by former Posh loanee Florent Cuvelier. The Belgian midfielder suffered a calf strain in the goalless draw at Scunthorpe United on Tuesday evening.
A player definitely missing is Reece Flanagan who dislocated his shoulder in a recent development squad game at Morecambe and is likely to miss the remainder of the season. It was his first game back after recovering from a serious knee injury!
Witney has a dilemma up front though as three strikers are all hoping to get the nod against Posh. Amadou Bakayoko and Simeon Jackson have both been given chances to shine this season but have been misfiring, which could result in Cypriot striker Andreas Makris being given a shot.
Former Posh midfielder Erhun Oztumer, who is the Saddlers top scorer with 12 goals, is expected to line-up against his former employers.
Posh boss Grant McCann has no new injury concerns ahead of the game with the Saddlers but will still be without Michael Bostwick, Harry Anderson and Jermaine Anderson.
Jack Baldwin is getting fitter by the week but loanee central defender Dominic Ball, who scored his first profession goal in the midweek win over Shrewsbury Town, is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up alongside Ryan Tafazolli.
The left-back position could also see a change. Jerome Binnom-Williams has done well since replacing Andrew Hughes after the latter picked up an injury although his standards did dip on Tuesday. Will McCann keep faith with JBW or bring Hughes back into the side?
Another position up for grabs is that of the tip of the diamond. Marcus Maddison is a vital player for Posh but was brought off at half-time on Tuesday despite creating a few goal-scoring chances for his colleagues. Paul Taylor replaced Maddison and went on to create both goals against the Shrews.
Finally, the strikers! Who will McCann try this week as the front pairing? Craig Mackail-Smith was rested in midweek and could be brought back in but who would partner him? Tom Nichols has been that man so far but Lee Angol or Junior Morias could be given the chance against the Saddlers.
12 - Erhun Oztumer
9 - Amadou Bakayoko
6 - Simeon Jackson
5 - James McCarthy
4 - Kieron Morris
10 - Tom Nichols
9 - Gwion Edwards
7 - Marcus Maddison
5 - Paul Taylor
4 - Chris Forrester
3 - Michael Bostwick
3 - Ryan Tafazolli
Referee MARK HAYWOOD will take charge of the match.
To find out more about the official CLICK HERE.
He will be assisted by Richard Bartlett and Alan Clayton.
The fourth official is John Farries.
The Saddlers Club situated just outside the stadium is happy to admit away supporters on matchdays on payment of a £2 entrance fee; under 16's are admitted free though. The Club has two rooms, a smaller one at the front, which is for home supporters, and a larger function room at the back, which is for away fans.
The nearest pub to the ground is the King George V on Wallowes Lane. It is about a 15 minute walk away, opposite Morrisons Supermarket.
Away fans should avoid the Fulbrook pub near to the ground.
The Saddlers have a good record at home this season but Posh also have a good away record so it could be an interesting contest.
Three home wins on the bounce including an impressive 4-1 victory over Sheffield United will make the Saddlers a difficult team to overcome but Posh are more than capable of doing just that but the big question is whether the Posh strikers will let the rest of the side down again!
Vital Posh believe Posh will draw: 1 - 1.
Don`t forget you can predict the Walsall v Posh match. Vote for what you think will be the score HERE. Seven different predictions have so far been voted for with one prediction ahead of all the others - that`s a two-one victory for the Saddlers which has received 40% of the votes so far.
Don`t forget to vote in the following polls which are currently running at the time of print:
Predict the Score - Walsall v Posh
Posh v Shrewsbury Town
Man of the Match
Rate The Ref - Carl Boyeson
Posh v Sheffield United
Man of the Match
Rate The Ref - Andy Haines
UP THE POSH
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