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Walsall Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 05/12/2002

SATURDAY’S match against Walsall is yet another massive game for the Mariners. Already being touted as a "six pointer", the Mariners will be keen to eradicate the memories of last years 4-0 thumping at the Bescot Stadium with a decent result.

Home > 2002-2003 Season > Previews > Walsall (a)

The Bottom Line

Avoid loosing at all costs will surely be the message from Paul Groves. After a decent run of form, two defeats in the last two games means that the Mariners need to get back on track.

The Opposition - Any Good?

Despite their reasonably low position, the Saddlers have quite a strong team. Their captain Martin O’Connor (left) has a wealth of experience in the centre of the park. While upfront, Brazilian forward Junior is receiving rave reviews for his goalscoring spree of late. In defence they have ex Watford defender Darren Bazeley and the ever reliable James Walker between the posts.

Recent Form


DBlackburn(Cup)(a)2-2 (4-5 pens)

Players To Watch



John Oster


A tricky customer at home on either the right wing or in the upfront who recently signed an extension to his loan that will keep him at Blundell Park until January. Of course, originally started with the Mariners and made his debut in the 1996/97 season before a big money move to Everton. His career has been blighted by bad luck and injuries so is with Town to try and play his way into the reckoning back at his own club, Sunderland. Played up front last week and will do so again in the absence of Darren Mansaram.

26 year old Brazilian striker who has caught the eye with some fine performances since his move earlier in the season from Brazilian side Trezze. He has hit six goals in nine games and Saddlers fans are keen to see his loan deal being made into a permanent one. He has played in both Belgium and France in his illustrious career and now it is in the first division where he is testing defenders out with his tricky skills and his strong left boot. A fan’s favourite and a massive threat to the Mariners goal.

Top Scorers



Kabba 6
Pouton 4
Campbell 4

Junior 6
Leitao 6
Corica 4
Sonner 4

Team News



  • Town have no new injury worries apart from Paul Groves who took a blow to his ribs in Town’s game against Leicester last weekend. Simon Ford will be drafted in to replace him after his one game ban.

  • Darren Mansaram is still injured and with no new forward signed this week, John Oster will continue in attack.

  • One other change may come in the shape of George Santos who may slot into midfield instead of Stacy Coldicott who has been struggling with fitness over the past few weeks.
  • The Saddlers will definitely be without Pedro Matias who was injured in a reserve game this week.

  • One man who may return to the side is Zigor Aranalde who game through that game unscathed.

  • Elsewhere, new signing Gareth Ainsworth will probably be on the bench while Junior and Jorge Leitao will resume up front.
  • Probable Starting XI's


    Danny Coyne
    John McDermott
    Simon Ford
    Jason Gavin
    Tony Gallimore
    Darren Barnard
    Stuart Campbell
    George Santos
    Alan Pouton
    Steve Livingstone
    John Oster
    James Walker
    Darren Bazeley
    Ludovic Pollet
    Ian Roper
    Zigor Aranalde
    Darren Wrack
    Danny Sonner
    Martin O’Connor
    Steve Corica
    Jorge Leitao



    Terry Cooke
    Paul Groves
    David Soames
    Jonathan Rowan
    Sean Allaway (GK)
    Danny Hay
    Gareth Ainsworth
    Matt Carbon
    Fitzroy Simpson
    Gavin Ward (GK)

    Last Time Out

    The last time the two sides clashed was in March this year when Town let a two goal lead slip and ended up drawing 2-2. A Paul Groves looping header and an own goal by Walsall defender Ian Roper looked to be enough to give Town three points until Walsall struck near the end and it was ex Saddlers striker Darren Byfield who got the equaliser. At that stage, it looked like both sides would be relegated; but as it turned out, both Colin Lee and Paul Groves did enough to keep their sides up.

    Town Team: Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Todd, Groves, Butterfield, Campbell, Pouton, Burnett, Allen (Coldicott), Boulding.
    Subs (not used): Ford, Rowan, Jevons, Croudson

    Attendance: 7,016    Report

    Walsall Head-to-Head (68th on The Opposition Ladder).


    Fishy prediction: 2-2 Draw. Reader's POMs


    Click on the link for directions to the Bescot Stadium (left).

    Admission Prices

    Click on the link for ticket prices to Bescot Stadium.

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