Express & Star

Shrewsbury v Walsall - Match preview

Mat Sadler is likely to give opportunities to younger players when Walsall travel to the Croud Meadow to face rivals Shrewsbury Town in the EFL Trophy tonight.

Isaiah Osbourne and Mat Sadler

Both clubs have already been knocked out of the competition and will meet for the first time since 2019.

Sadler had two spells at the Meadow as a player and racked up 213 appearances for Salop, while Shrews boss Matt Taylor previously spent eight months in the dugout at Walsall during the 2021-22 campaign.

Tonight’s fixture could present the likes of Joe Foulkes, Rollin Menayese, Dylan Thomas and Ronan Maher with opportunities as Sadler is expected to ring the changes.

“Players will get game time. I think it’s right that there’ll be some younger players that get game time as well,” Sadler revealed. “We lose the three for international duty, we lose the ones that I’ve spoken about already in terms of the injuries.

“There will be changes to the team. Of course there will. But when you go there, you dust yourself down, and you want to win the game.”

Walsall will be without Donervon Daniels, Brandon Comley and Liam Gordon, who will be heading off to represent Montserrat and Guyana respectively over the forthcoming international break.

Priestley Farquharson (foot), Harry Williams (ankle), Jack Earing (knee), Aramide Oteh (hamstring) and Freddie Draper are also expected to be unavailable for the Saddlers.

Ross Tierney was absent from the squad in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Harrogate after picking up a hamstring issue in training.

Tierney received his scan results yesterday, although an update is yet to be issued on his condition.

Joe Riley also left Bescot on crutches after being forced off inside 10 minutes on the weekend, while Jamille Matt missed out due to concussion.

Walsall have lost back-to-back league games against Mansfield and Harrogate respectively, and have gone four without a win in League Two.

However, Sadler is a firm believer that the process will eventually yield fantastic results.

“Of course, everything in life is about results, and here and now results,” he declared. “I’ve been in football for a long time, but I’ve also been in football a long time to know that a process, especially not getting too carried away with results, yields some fantastic outcomes.

“That’s thoroughly what I believe. With that group of players giving absolutely everything. We can be frustrated that we didn’t win the game and everyone has the right to be frustrated that we didn’t win the game (against Harrogate)

“It would be wrong of me to see anything other than the performance that we played and the way that we played.”