Walsall v Forest Green Rovers: Brian Dutton not fooled by opponent's recent form

Brian Dutton has warned against complacency as Walsall await what kind of threat Forest Green Rovers will pose.

Walsall manager Brian Dutton
Walsall manager Brian Dutton

The Saddlers enter tomorrow’s game still looking for their first win since Dutton took charge.

On paper they face a tough fixture against a Forest Green side who are sixth in the division and only two points away from automatic promotion.

But Mark Cooper’s side have had a poor run of form, losing their last three games and failing to win in their last five – losing four of them.

Despite that, Dutton insists Walsall will need to be at their best and prepare for an in-form Rovers side.

He said: “They’ve had a couple of results that has dipped in their form but they’re a top class outfit.

“They’ve been around the play-off hunt time and time under Mark Cooper so it won’t be an easy fixture.

“We genuinely go into every fixture trying to win the game and attack so it’s another game we will set up to try and win.

“I look at every fixture as a good opportunity.

“Teams who have dipped in form are definitely more preferable to play against than the ones in red-hot form, but Mark Cooper is an excellent manager and it won’t be an easy fixture.

“We can’t be complacent, we don’t know which Forest Green is going to turn up.

“Whether it’s going to be a Forest Green lacking confidence or a wounded animal who wants to come out and stamp it’s authority.

“They’re at the top end of the table because they have quality right through the side and we can’t take them lightly.

“We’ll be preparing for the best possible Forest Green.”

Goalkeeper Jack Rose echoed his manager’s thoughts, insisting the Saddlers cannot afford to be complacent.

He said: “Anyone can beat anyone, they could hit form again when we play them or we could hit form and beat them. It’s on the day.

“They’re up there for a reason, they’ve found a way to win games and have picked up a lot of points.

“You go into no game complacent. We’ll look at them and have a plan to play against them.”

Cooper will be without top goalscorer Jamille Matt for the visit to the Banks’s Stadium after the 16-goal striker suffered a horrific hand injury last week that requires surgery.

Dutton added: “When they lose a player of Jamille Matt’s standing, it is for sure a positive.

“You lose someone who is scoring you goals, it’s going to be a negative for the team.

“He’s been a massive player for them and they will miss him, of course.

“But it gives someone else an opportunity and right through their squad they have quality.”

Meanwhile, Liam Roberts and Stuart Sinclair could be available after both picking up small knocks that kept them out of Monday’s game.

Dutton said: “With Liam Roberts it’s still early days and we’re in the assessment stage with him.

“Same with Stuart Sinclair. We haven’t got a date for those guys but they’re hopefully minor problems and they’ll be in contention soon.”

Caolan Lavery hobbled off at the end of the first half on Monday and although Dutton did not have a full update on his condition, he his hopeful of seeing the striker back soon.

“Caolan Lavery will be assessed, we needed to let the injury settle down,” he said. “I’m yet to be informed about it so I should have more news on that in the next 24 hours.

“It’s not as bad as first thought and we’re hoping for some positive news.”

Dan Scarr has missed the last six games with a calf injury after coming off in the second half against Barrow.

Now, Dutton has revealed the defender is on course for an earlier return.

He added: “Dan Scarr is ahead of schedule in regards to the assessment we first diagnosed because he’s working really hard in the gym with his rehab, so that’s a positive. I haven’t got a time for when he’ll be back, it’s still fairly early days, but he’s out on the grass doing some dynamic movements so that’s a real positive for Dan and the group.”

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