Express & Star

Bradford v Walsall - Match preview

After a mini slump that has seen them lose three on the bounce across all competitions, Walsall would love a positive display at Bradford City.


Valley Parade is a notoriously difficult place to go given the Bantams have the largest home support in League Two by some distance.

More than 16,500 watched their goalless draw with Crewe Alexandra last weekend and Mark Hughes’ men are set to be backed wholeheartedly again tomorrow.

The Saddlers will be under no illusions and know they cannot perform similarly to how they did in defeat to West Ham Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy in midweek.

Assistant boss Wayne Hatswell insists ‘everything’ is needed to stop the losing run and silence an expectant crowd.

“We’ve got to go there with that desire as we’re going to be up against not just their 11 – they are going to have the full backing of 16,000 behind them,” said Hatswell.

“We need a strong mentality. We need everything to get something from it. We’ve had a bit of a tough week where we’ve been kicked more than we deserved, but that’s football.

“We’ve got to use that now to know how tough the league is.

“We’ve got a few youngsters who are realising now how tough this league is.”

Bradford, like Walsall, have been busy revamping the squad over the summer and with a high-profile boss in Hughes, they are hoping to be pushing at the top end of the division.

Saddlers chief Michael Flynn knows all about the club having spent three years there as a player.

Hatswell wants to see the group step up against one of the bookies’ favourites for promotion.

“I’ve been in this league a long time, and it’s probably one of the toughest I’ve seen in a long, long time,” said Hatswell.

“We’re under no illusions. We’re trying to instil that mentality into the players, it’s a big thing for us.

“We can’t fall below those high standards. We need to keep running hard and we’ll have to dig in, but we’ve got quality in the team as well.

“It’s just piecing that together a bit more and having more belief that we can have something go our way.”

Walsall will hope to have Donervon Daniels back involved at centre-half after the skipper picked up a knock in last weekend’s loss to Grimsby Town.

At the other end of the pitch, they are hoping to find the right formula and do more to support seven-goal Danny Johnson.

Versatile forward Danny Cashman was signed yesterday and should come into the squad.

“A couple of the strikers just need something in to go in off their backside, so we can start building momentum and getting more points on the board,” added Hatswell.

“We’ve got a few good games to look forward to, and we need to come away from Bradford with a good away performance. That’s what we’re looking for.”