Walsall v Exeter: Saddlers ready for a tough test against the resurgent Grecians

Walsall assistant manager Brian Dutton is expecting a ‘very good’ Exeter City team when they host the south west club tomorrow.

SPORT COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR...... 07/03/2020.....Walsall FC V Exeter City......Pictured, Elijah Adebayo  scores..
SPORT COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR...... 07/03/2020.....Walsall FC V Exeter City......Pictured, Elijah Adebayo scores..

The Grecians lost out on promotion last season when they fell to a 4-0 defeat to Northampton Town at Wembley.

Despite their success in League Two, Walsall were undefeated against Matt Taylor’s side last campaign, winning and drawing one apiece.

Now, after an unbeaten start to the current season, Dutton is anticipating a difficult afternoon against their opponents.

“It’s a very tough fixture, just like the Colchester and Orient ones.

“They finished in the play-offs last year and sometimes you concern yourselves with teams that finish in the play-offs; whether there is a hangover going into the next campaign.

“But they’ve had a couple of positive results recently so we’re getting a very good Exeter team coming up against Walsall, so we need to be fully prepared for that match.”

Last year, Walsall struggled with their home form but had more success when travelling away.

This season, in what has been a consistent start, their two wins in the league have both been at home.

Despite that, Dutton believes the lack of fans kills the home advantage and that it won’t affect tomorrow’s clash.

“We travelled well last season – the home form was probably the sticky point for us,” he added.

“We look forward to both home and away fixtures, especially with no fans in now it’s a level playing field home and away so we’re looking forward to acquitting ourselves on the road as well.

“We’re very much orientated on the next game and we won’t get carried away because it’s so early in the season.

“But it’s pleasing for the lads (to be in the top seven) and all the hard work they’ve put in through pre-season that it gets them in that position so early in the campaign.”

Following a spate of draws, the Saddlers deservedly beat Leyton Orient 2-1 on Tuesday night.

For defender Dan Scarr – who was particularly impressive – the three points were long overdue and well worth their efforts in recent weeks.

“All of these draws we’ve been having, they’re only good if you can back them up with a win,” Scarr said. “We’ve done that and got into the top seven, they become good points then.

“We take every game as it comes, every game is a different challenge and at the moment we’re relishing them.

“The training has been that good, everyone has been at it, biting at training.

“Anyone who comes in can slot in and do a job. It’s up to the people who have the shirts to keep them. There’s lads on the bench that are raring to go.

“It’s good competition all over and whoever comes in and takes a spot, I’m sure they’ll do well to keep it.”

Elijah Adebayo netted again on Tuesday – continuing in the same vein from last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Colchester United.

Manager Darrell Clarke has previously said that the striker has begun bullying his defenders in training as well as defenders during League Two fixtures.

When asked about that, Scarr joked: “He didn’t mean me!”

But the former Stourbridge stopper added: “He is hard to mark in training, he’s big and uses his body well.

“He’s started to do that in training a lot more and he’s starting to show in games. Fair play to him, and the more he does that the more he helps the team and helps himself.

“He’s come back, he looks fit, all the lads have been on to him for how good he is. Everyone is getting in his head and bigging him up.

“Everyone has always said from the second he walked through the door, he’s got such a talent and such a big potential.

“He’s not just a bully. He’s technically good for a big man, he’s good with his feet. He doesn’t want the ball in the air, he wants it to his feet. He’s starting to show himself really good.”

Adebayo has now scored in his last five home league games as he continues his impressive form.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News