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Walsall v Swindon - Match preview

All thoughts of the forthcoming FA Cup tie with Leicester will be far from the minds of Walsall’s players and management as they get ready for a ‘vital’ period before that game a week on Saturday.

Manny Monthe (Owen Russell)
Manny Monthe (Owen Russell)

Saddlers take on Swindon Town at The Bescot tomorrow with four points separating the sides, but with the hosts, who will have new signing Jamille Matt available, boasting two games in hand.

And then on Tuesday, Walsall continue their play-off push with a trip to AFC Wimbledon.

Swindon are where Walsall want to be, in fifth place and firmly in the play-off mix. The Saddlers are in 11th, but only four places off Bradford in seventh,

When Walsall visited Swindon in the first fixture on Boxing Day they bagged what is becoming a trademark last-gasp win at the County Ground, Manny Monthe’s stoppage time effort giving them a 2-1 victory.

At the time manager Michael Flynn praised the team’s resilience and ability to keep going right until the end of the game, as well as being able to share the goals around the team.

He said: “As a manager I don’t care when the goals go in as long as we get the three points, but to be fair to the lads they have shown a lot of resilience, work ethic and a great attitude on around three occasions now to turn a deficit into a draw and then a win.

“It was a deserved result, we had the best chances in the game, we looked dangerous going forward and did well to come from behind, which is always tough.”

Flynn is on the record as being a big fan of the FA Cup as a youngster through to being a manager and he will have been pleased to see Liverpool come through their third round replay at Wolves on Tuesday.

As a boss he has never failed to reach the third round but won’t waver from his stated aim of concentrating on the league before the Leicester date a week on Saturday.

In Swindon, as when they played and beat Crawley, they are likely to face a team which has an interim coach in charge.

Scott Lindsey has recently left Swindon – ironically for Crawley – a move which has raised a few eyebrows although The Robins’ recent form has not been great.

But before he left he signed Charlie Austin up for a second spell at The County Ground and he made an immediate impact with the opening goal in the 5-0 win over Grimsby, with Gavin Gunning and Steve Mildenhall in interim charge for The Robins

Austin will be making a return to the West Midlands tomorrow, just a goal-kick away from The Hawthorns where he scored 10 goals in 39 appearances for Albion between 2019-21.

For Walsall, it looks like any further move for Danny Johnson is on hold as the 15-goal loan striker remains at parent club Mansfield Town, where manager Nigel Clough is contemplating whether to use him for the game at Northampton, amid much interest from other clubs.

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