Walsall fans are delighted with their current form, like manager Dean Smith but are not that impressed with their board. Read their views ahead of the game with Vale…
About the fans
DYLAN – My name’s Dylan, I’m 17 years old and I’m head admin for Walsall website thesaddlersscene.com (please feel free to take a browse Valiants as there are a couple of Vale related articles on there). I’ve been a Walsall fan for around seven-ish years now, despite not coming from a football mad family. Ever since I noticed I was good at English, I’ve wanted to become a journalist, which is why I have my own website thanks to a journalism company I’ve teamed up with.
EXILE – I was born in Walsall. Loyal. I’m now approaching fifty and still hate plastic fans.
KSHAMMER – I was born and bred in the Chuckery (a posh area of Walsall) and supported the club since I was introduced to them by my dad whom I have never forgiven.
How is your team faring this season?
We’re doing OK overall – our away form is great but we are struggling a bit at home…
DYLAN – We’re doing a lot better than what we expected to at the start of the season. We had a rough start to the season, sitting just above the relegation zone in October. However, we turned it around with a fantastic unbeaten run and sublime away from where we now sit two points off the play-off spots.
EXILE – Our current form improving, as always. Our expectations same as ever depending on the volume of beer in the glass: regardless of how we do we’re a 50:50 mix of great/s***e.
KSHAMMER – We’re doing OK overall – our away form is great but we are struggling a bit at home. Based on recent seasons we all hoped a play-off push would be possible after it being within our grasp last year before a terrible run of form. To have the play offs still attainable is promising providing we can turn our home form around. Throw in a Wembley appearance in the Johnstones Paint Trophy – our first ever appearance there – and we can’t moan (although some do… a lot).
Where do you think you’ll finish?
As a Walsall fan, I’d like to see us make the play-offs but I personally can’t see that happening…
DYLAN – It’s hard to call because of how tight the top of the table is at this moment in time, a bad run of form could see us drop as low as 20th. On the other hand, if we continue our sterling form we could rise as high as fourth. As a Walsall fan, I’d like to see us make the play-offs but I personally can’t see that happening. I can see us finishing 10th-14th place.
EXILE – Mid-table mediocrity is always welcome. seventh would be torture.
KSHAMMER – I’d love sixth but I have a feeling the season will wind down again, especially with Wembley as an added distraction, and so it will be eighth or thereabouts. We never seem to have the squad depth to sustain a whole season of decent form.
Who should we watch out for?
DYLAN – You are coming at the right time as all of our key players have just picked up slight knocks. Our top goal scorer, Tom Bradshaw picked up an injury a fortnight ago and might not be able to play on Saturday. Both of our wingers, Forde and Cook both picked up groin injuries versus Rochdale on Tuesday. If none of those play, I would definitely look out for Manchester City loanee Jordy Hiwula, who has bagged two goals in two games.
EXILE – The referee normally does our opposition loads of favours.
KSHAMMER – Our most dangerous goalscorer is Tom Bradshaw but fortunately for you lot he’s injured. He’s been fantastic for us this year but unfortunately seems to be prone to the odd niggling injury now and again. Sawyers can be unplayable on his day, and the likes of Cain, Forde and Cook can be dangerous but unfortunately we often knock it around well without always having an end product.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
For the resources he has at his disposal it would be hard to look at this season as anything but a success…
DYLAN – He’s incredible. His loyalty to the club is fantastic, bearing in mind he is the fourth longest serving manager in England. He loves to give the youth a shot at the big time which I admire him for. All I can say is it will be a sad day when he leaves the club.
EXILE – Ginger Mourinho.
KSHAMMER – I really like him. He makes the odd blunder – be it player signing or tactics – but for the resources he has at his disposal it would be hard to look at this season as anything but a success, particularly if they manage to get near the play-offs. He wants the ball passed, he wants players to express themselves and wants to develop young players and so his intentions are spot on – he just needs to add a plan B in there at times and maybe not offer lame excuses when we play badly.
What are your thoughts on your board?
DYLAN – I must admit, I don’t follow much news about the Walsall board, but I know the basics. I don’t want to make a huge fuss, but I’m not a fan of the owner of the club. He hasn’t been to a Walsall game in five years which is appalling, but I must thank the guy for the money he invests.
EXILE – Let’s not go there.
KSHAMMER – We pay a lot of rent. God, do we pay a lot of rent!
Any views on Port Vale?
Pope always looks a handful – a proper striker at this level and seems to always give us trouble…
DYLAN – Again I don’t know much about Port Vale as a whole. Looking at your squad, Pope looks like a player we might need to look out for on Saturday afternoon with his nine goals this season. Even though you sit down in sixteenth, there is a massive chance for you to fight for promotion this season, with only six points separating you and the playoffs.
EXILE – Always hated you. Fondly!
KSHAMMER – Pope always looks a handful – a proper striker at this level and seems to always give us trouble. Am I right in thinking you’ve got Ryan McGivern playing for you? If so, bad luck.
Did you attend the reverse fixture earlier this season?
I think during the first-half you played us off the park…
DYLAN – I did attend the game yes. I think during the first-half you played us off the park. However new summer signing, Tom Bradshaw picked us up an equaliser mid way through the second half to get us a point that day. Like I said your first-half performance was phenomenal, somehow though you seemed to lose motivation going into the second half.
EXILE – No.
KSHAMMER – No I didn’t attend.
Any views on players involved with both sides?
DYLAN – The only player I can think of off the top of my head is out manager, Dean Smith. He ended his sensational playing career at Port Vale back in 2005 where he made thirteen league appearances.
EXILE – Clayton McDonald. Any mate of Ched Evans we’re well shot of!
KSHAMMER – Danny Sonner springs to mind. Hopefully he’ll spring straight out again – awful, awful player.
A score prediction?
DYLAN – I can see this been a close match between the two sides. I struggled to predict a score simply because I don’t know if our key players will be fit in time for the match. I’m going to go for a 1-0 victory for the Saddlers, with Hiwula getting the goal.
EXILE – 7-0 (Grimes 7). Now he’s opened the floodgates…
KSHAMMER – 2-1 to us. Forde and Grimes – Pope for you as I can’t think of anyone else and he always seems to score, albeit after just checking his record at league One level it ain’t actually that amazing.