In our regular feature, Walsall fans are still reasonably confident of promotion but concerned about recent events including the departure of manager Dean Smith…
About the fans…
Rob Harvey – I’m 26 years old and I started watching Walsall in 1998. My first game was against Tranmere at the Bescot and I’ve been hooked ever since.
WELSH SADDLER – I started supporting Walsall in the mid-1950’s, and we seem to have mirrored the fortunes of Port Vale over the years.
How do you expect your team to do this season?
Recent events have cast something of a shadow over our future direction…
RH – Based on where we currently are, I expect us to be challenging for the top two, although more realistically in the play-offs (it depends on who gets sold in January!)
WS – Well, after the start we’ve had we really should be looking at a play-off place at the very least but recent events have cast something of a shadow over our future direction. Dean Smith has jumped ship to join Brentford and we’re in limbo at present while our beloved chairman Jeff Bonser makes his mind up about the succession.
It has to be said that Bonser’s track record on appointing managers isn’t always beneficial – most of us have vivid memories of the negative effects of Paul Merson’s time as manager, and Jimmy Mullen offered no improvement. I think we had all got used to the permanence of Dean Smith (nearly five years in the hot seat) and then he moved of his own accord – it’s new territory for us here at Walsall!
Who should we watch out for?
RH – Apart from [former Vale loanee] Romaine Sawyers who has to be one of, if not the best, number 10 in the league, then watch out for Cypriot international Jason Demetriou who always poses a threat from wing back.
WS – Well, leading scorer Tom Bradshaw has been missing for a couple of weeks since being kicked off the park by his previous club Shrewsbury Town, but he may figure on Sunday. Romaine Sawyers has really established himself as a class forward-midfield player this season. Another player very well worth seeing is Rico Henry, our young left-sided wing-back.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
RH – The three signings in the summer have been brilliant, and George Evans on loan from Man City has been a revelation in our midfield. He’s much too good for League One.
WS – I understand that Jose Mourinho might be available… but is he good enough for us?
What are your thoughts on your board?
Things could change in January if we have a last minute selling of players…
RH – No comment, this could open a can of worms. As things are going well this season, I’ll give them their due.
Things could change in January if we have a last minute selling of players like those of Scott Dann and Danny Fox a few years back.
WS – No comment.
Which one Vale player would you take past or present?
RH – I have always liked the look of Sam Johnson. I’ve seen him play twice against us in goal and he has done well. it’s either him or Ben Purkiss for sentimental reasons!
WS – I was mortified when our leading goalscorer for three or four seasons signed for you – I refer to Tony Richards, and although it now seems that he was nearing the end of his career (and his time with full fitness) it seemed at the time to be madness to let him go, especially to a reasonably local rival…
How do you expect Vale to do this season?
RH – Now you are up for sale, it could go one of two ways. Add the fact that Tom Pope has gone and I feel it leaves you a little more vulnerable, but I’m sure you will do fine.
WS – Vale are currently occupying the spot where you would have found us last season – mid-table mediocrity! We shall, of course, be pleased to welcome Ben Purkiss on Sunday – he seems to have found a regular place in your defence.
A score prediction?
RH – I’m going to say 0-2 to Walsall with Sawyers and Evans scoring.
WS – I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 1-1 result. However, ever the optimist, I’ll say that we should get the three points in a 2-0 result.