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Scouting report: Walsall

16 September 2016

A closer look at the Saddlers ahead of Wanderers' trip to the Banks's Stadium

Ahead of Wanderers' trip to Walsall on Saturday, bwfc.co.uk take a closer look at Jon Whitney's side...



SEASON SO FAR…
Having lost in the League One play-off semi-finals to eventual winners Barnsley last season, Walsall have endured a slow start to their 2016/17 Sky Bet League One campaign.

Appointing Jon Whitney as manager on a permanent basis following his stint in interim charge, the Saddlers were disappointed to lose star man Tom Bradshaw during the summer as the Wales international left to join Barnsley.

However, new signings Simeon Jackson and Erhun Oztumer have made an immediate impact at the Banks's Stadium after being brought in to help replace the prolific forward, both registering three goals apiece after netting debut strikes in their victory over AFC Wimbledon.

Alongside the arrivals of Joe Edwards and Franck Moussa, George Dobson, Josh Ginnelly and Jason McCarthy have all signed on loan from Premier League clubs with Kevin Toner and Scott Laird also joining the club on temporary deals.

But despite starting the season with an opening day win, Walsall have failed to pick up maximum points since their aforementioned clash with AFC Wimbledon.

Currently 20th in the table, the Saddlers have fought out draws with Oldham Athletic, Bury and Bristol Rovers, as well as suffered defeats at the hands of Chesterfield, Charlton Athletic and Northampton Town.

But with only one of those losses coming at the Banks's Stadium, Walsall will be eager to kick-start their season on Saturday in front of their home fans as they host league leaders Wanderers. 

RECENT FORM
• L 2-0 - Chesterfield A - (Sky Bet League One, 16/8/16)
• L 1-2 - Charlton Athletic H - (Sky Bet League One, 20/8/16)
• D 3-3 - Bury H - (Sky Bet League One, 27/8/16)
• W 5-2 - Grimsby Town H - (Checkatrade Trophy, 30/8/16)
• L 2-0 - Northampton Town A - (Sky Bet League One, 10/9/16)
• D 1-1 - Bristol Rovers A - (Sky Bet League One, 13/9/16)

THE MANAGER: JON WHITNEY
Jon Whitney was appointed Walsall manager on a three-year deal in June 2016 after a spell as interim boss. 


Born in Nantwich, Whitney made almost 200 Football League appearances as a defender for Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, Lincoln City and Hull City, but was forced to retire due to injury in 2001, aged 30. 

He first joined the Saddlers in 2003 as a physiotherapist and has since held various coaching, fitness and sports science roles. 

Whitney became part of former manager Dean Smith’s coaching team and took temporary control of first-team affairs following Sean O’Driscoll’s departure in March 2016. 

He guided Walsall to third in League One and a place in the play-offs, but the Saddlers were beaten by eventual winners Barnsley in last season's semi-finals. 

KEY PLAYER: SIMEON JACKSON
Having signing a two-year deal with Walsall in July, Simeon Jackson made an immediate impact at the Banks's Stadium as he marked his debut with a brace against AFC Wimbledon on the opening day of the season.


Born in Jamaica, the forward moved to Canada as a child where he started out in youth football, before moving to the UK as a teenager. 

His prolific goal scoring abilities at non-league level caught the eye of Rushden and Diamonds and at the age of 17 Jackson found the net 42 times in 93 appearances. 

The Canada international furthered his career in 2008 with a move to Gillingham where he continues his fine goalscoring form, adding another 42 goals over a two-year spell with the Kent club. 

This prompted interest from Norwich City who were quick to move for the free-scoring forward, paying £600,000 for his services in the summer of 2010, with his goal against Portsmouth in May 2011 clinching the Canaries' promotion to the Premier League at the end of his first season with the club. 

His next move was to the German Bundesliga with Eintracht Braunschweig in July 2013 before returning to English football with the likes of Millwall, Coventry City, Barnsley and most recently Blackburn Rovers prior to his move to Walsall.


LAST WALSALL XI (v Bristol Rovers, D1-1)
Etheridge, Edwards, Toner, McCarthy, Laird, Makris (Kouhyar 36), Morris, Chambers, Moussa (Bakayoko 84), Oztumer, Jackson. 

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