After a 1-1 draw away to Hartlepool, Walsall head to Bramall lane to face League One new boys Sheffield United. The Yorkshire outfit were a top half Championship side since their relegation from the Premier League in 2007. Finishing 9th, 3rd and then 8th before finishing 23rd at the end of last season saw The Blades relegated to League One for the first time since 89-90. Having only spent 6 seasons outside England’s top two divisions, United will want to get back to the ‘big time’.
Sheffield United appointed former Swindon manager Danny Wilson in controversial fashion because of his history with fierce rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Wilson played nearly 100 games for Wednesday between 1990 and 1993 before managing them between 1998 and 2000. When hearing of the appointment, around 400 Blades fans gathered outside Bramall Lane to show their anger at the club. However, after winning his first 3 games in all competitions, he is winning his way around the hearts of the United faithful. United lost 5 players in the transfer window, replacing them with 5 new faces. Danny Philliskirk, Jean-Francois Lescinel, Ryan Flynn, Chris Porter and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (loan) have all come in, replacing Jamie Ward, Darius Henderson and Mark Yeates who remained in The Championship while Phil Roe and Kingsley James have joined League 2 outfit Port Vale.
For what its worth, United find themselves in 2nd spot, having won their first two games, scoring 4 and conceding none. They started their League One campaign away to Oldham, winning 2-0 courtesy of second half goals from 18 year old Harry Maguire who scored a towering header and experienced front man Richard Cresswell. They then travelled to Hartlepool in the Carling Cup where the game finished 1-1 after extra time, Stephen Quinn on target, The Blades finally won thanks to a penalty shoot out, with United scoring all 5. Last Saturday they played their first game at home, beating Brentford 2-0. Goals from youngster Jordan Slew and a second of the season for Richard Cresswell after dominating the game with an overall possession of 63%.
United have no new injury worries ahead of the game on Tuesday evening and have managed to keep hold of Nick Montgomery who has attracted interest from Leeds United. Ched Evans was another player linked with a move away, but since the recent police charge against the front man, drawing parallels with former Walsall centre-back Clayton McDonald, this seems to have put many clubs off him.
Walsall have no injury worries, however there will be 2 absentees. Walsall captain Andy Butler could miss out on the clash due to his harsh red card away to Hartlepool on Saturday. However, with Walsall appealing, he could still feature. The spine of the team will look weaker once again due to the absence of tough-tackling midfielder Adam Chambers, who is set to miss his second game of his 3 match ban due to a dangerous challenge in the Carling Cup clash against Middlesbrough a week ago. Any new faces seem unlikely before Tuesday’s game but Walsall fans will surely be hoping to see a new face by Saturday’s clash against Yeovil.
I feel that Sheffield United will continue their 100% record here, with Walsall missing two (possible) key players and The Blades having home advantage and a near full strength side. I can only see a 2-0 win for United. However, lets not forget that we have beaten the likes of Leeds United away from home when we expected a thumping, so its not impossible now, is it?