Express & Star

Walsall v Northampton: Saddlers need to find their shooting boots at Bescot

It is clear what Walsall need to improve upon as they host Northampton Town.


Michael Flynn’s side must find their shooting boots after a deeply frustrating defeat at Bradford City last weekend.

The Saddlers will have analysed their performance at Valley Parade throughout this week, and the video footage will have re-emphasised how well they did between both boxes.

Walsall played with energy, moved the ball around sharply and got lots of crosses in to ask questions of the Bantams’ defence.

The clips, though, will have also offered a frustrating reminder of their lack of ruthlessness.

Bradford, simply put, were let off the hook.

The Saddlers should have grabbed at least a point but their wastefulness in front of goal and lapses in concentration at the back cost them dearly.

Flynn will be desperate to avoid a repeat against the Cobblers and, in turn, put an end to their losing run.

Four defeats on the bounce in all competitions have dampened the mood following a bright start to the campaign and fans could do with a pick-me-up – although visitors Northampton will offer up a stern test.

Jon Brady’s men have lost just one of their seven games so far and are also unbeaten on their travels.

It only hammers home the point that Walsall need to make the most of their opportunities because if the Cobblers are given a sniff, they will most likely take advantage.

Something Flynn is aiming to work out is the best dynamic in the final third.

Danny Johnson’s seven goals already make him a shoo-in for selection despite missing an early penalty at Bradford.

It is just a question of how to effectively support him.

Tom Knowles partnered him in attack at Valley Parade and did brilliantly to win that penalty with a neat turn drawing a foul. The summer signing from Yeovil Town is more than happy to run at defenders and take risks but has missed his fair share of chances.

Andy Williams, meanwhile, is keen to get himself involved but has struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities – lacking service and luck going against him.

It would not be surprising to see both feature tomorrow but with Danny Cashman waiting in the wings, they will be eager to grab their first goals of the campaign.

Walsall have boosted the squad ahead of the clash with the signings of free agents Jacob Maddox and Jonas Mukuna.

The former appears more likely to be involved given he played 18 times for League One side Burton Albion last season while 17-year-old Mukuna is yet to make a competitive senior appearance.

The Saddlers have had the benefit of no midweek encounter going into this game so should be feeling fresh.

Again, a positive result would be just the tonic as they get ready for another hectic run of fixtures.

It is time for Walsall to find that killer instinct.