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Match Preview: Walsall vs Scunthorpe United

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The Iron are back in league action this weekend as they head to the Bescot Stadium to face Walsall.

Scunthorpe come into the game on a six-game winning streak in League One, but have been knocked out of two cup’s during the last week, following defeats to Doncaster and Leicester U-21s. Walsall have won their last two league matches and head into the fixture the fitter of the two sides, having not played in midweek.

Graham Alexander confirmed during in the week that Jordan Clarke could be out for some time, after the right-back has been ruled out for a substantial amount of time with a hamstring injury. Sam Mantom, Jonny Margetts and Luke Williams are all expected to be out until the New Year.

The Iron boss made nine changes to his side for the Checkatrade Trophy loss to a Leicester U-21s team worth up to £45m in transfer fees and is expected to do so again on Saturday. Matt Gilks, Rory McArdle, Cameron Burgess, Neal Bishop, Funso Ojo, Duane Holmes, Josh Morris, Hakeeb Adelakun and Tom Hopper may all be recalled to the starting lineup.

Kevin Van Veen will be hoping to maintain his place in the side, having got on the scoresheet against Leicester U-21s on Tuesday.

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Kevin Van Veen after scoring against Leicester U-21s

Walsall Team News

The Saddlers have had a relatively average season so far, as they currently sit 14th in the league table. Jon Whitney’s side have won their last two league games and have suffered defeat in just two of their last nine, so they will fancy their chances against the Iron.

In the build-up to the game, the Walsall boss, said, ‘”Scunthorpe are strong, they are where they are expected to be. They are sat third, four points off top, but we have done really well against the big teams. They will bring their A game and we have to make sure we bring ours.

He continued, “We are in a confident mood and we have been excellent in training this week. I think we have got enough to cause them problems. We don’t fear them. We will respect them but we have got players who can really hurt them.”

Whitney has been coy on the fitness of two of his key figures, Joe Edwards and James Wilson, who have been missing for the last few matches through injury and may once again sit this game out for the Saddlers.

The danger man for Walsall is Erhun Oztumer, who has so far registered 11 goals in all competitions for his side this season. Oztumer is a silky attacking midfielder, who loves to get the ball down and pull the strings. The Saddlers number 10 is also fond of a long-range strike at goal and should certainly be paid plenty of respect.

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The danger man Oztumer

Previous Matches

Scunthorpe have a solid recent record against Walsall, having won three of the last six encounters between the two sides and suffering defeat just once.

In the 2014/15 season, the Iron did the double over the Saddlers, recording a 2-1 victory at home and a resounding 4-1 win at the Bescot Stadium. The following season, Walsall had an excellent season which lead to them finishing in the League One playoffs, and they secured a 1-0 win at Glanford Park that campaign, to go along with a 0-0 home draw. United were 4-1 victors’ at the Bescot yet again last season, before the pair played out another 0-0 draw in February.

The Iron will be hoping to secure another win at the Bescot on Saturday and carry on their superb recent league form.

Written by James Murray

Aspiring journalist and Scunthorpe United fan studying at the London South Bank University.

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