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Walsall v Crawley - Match preview

Walsall could very much do with a victory tonight against Crawley after a disappointing week.

Joss Labadie and Jonny Williams
Joss Labadie and Jonny Williams

It would be wrong to describe this fixture against the Reds as must-win.

The Saddlers’ position in League Two is not at all precarious.

But having dipped out of both the FA Cup and EFL Trophy, fans could certainly do with a little excitement.

Walsall are yet to achieve back-to-back successes in the league this term, and that must change soon if they wish to rise up the table.

Crawley, who have won just one of their last seven and have one of the division’s worst defensive records, are the kind of side they need to beat to make that push.

The onus for the Saddlers is on finally coming up with a clinical edge while making sure they do not give away any silly goals.

Matt Taylor wants them to become more productive from set pieces as he said: “What you question is the desire to really want to attack the ball, and really put yourself in an area where you’re going to score.

“Quite frankly, we don’t score enough goals from set plays.

“We’ve spent a lot of time to try to make sure we’re more effective at set plays.

“The thing is with set plays, having taken them for 20 years, the delivery is so important.

“But it’s also about the runs and movement, being physical and on the move.

“We haven’t scored enough goals from set plays.

“It’s something we’ve earmarked we need to get better at as it can be a huge positive.

“You might go through a spell where it’s not going so well for you, but you can score from a set play.

“We haven’t done enough of it, but it’s not for the want of work on the training pitch, I can assure you of that.”

Walsall skipper Joss Labadie, meanwhile, is keen to improve their home form.

Their current Banks’s record in the league stands at three wins, three draws and three losses, and Labadie feels they need to make it harder for visiting teams – starting with John Yems’ side.

“We’ll concentrate on the league now and, hopefully, start climbing the table,” he said.

“We want to put a run of results together.

“The home form is something we’ve got to work on.

“We want to make our place a bit of a fortress, somewhere where it’s hard for teams to come.

“We’re getting there. Saturday was just a bitter pill to swallow.

“So, we want to put together some back-to-back wins and if we do, we’ll be right in among it.”

Walsall may be without Stephen Ward again after the veteran full-back missed the FA Cup defeat to Swindon with a hip problem.

Regardless of his fitness, though, Zak Mills will hope to keep his place at left-back.

Further forward, Otis Khan may fancy his chances of being brought into the starting XI on the back of a bright substitute display at the weekend.

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