Greetings, fellow scoffers. I trust you’re all suitably stuffed with mini eggs and other Cadbury’s treats (other chocolate is available, but we all know that’s the tastiest). Unfortunately, adding to this week of hell has been a tooth extraction, rendering my gob tender, and my usual confectionery appetite minimal.

Off we go to Walsall, our former play-off contenders. I say we – but not actually me, on account of the faff required last week to get tickets, and this painful gob of mine putting me off moving from my flat.

How are they getting on?

Fantastically well. Nobody really mentioned the boys from the Bescott in the pre-season betting for promotion, but following an up and down opening to the season (which included a spanking by us, back when we were brilliant) they’ve really come to life in 2013.

In actual fact, they’ve accrued 4 more points than any other side in the division since 1 January. That’s right – they’re the best team in the division by quite a bit. There’s been no let up on their part.

Recent form backs that up, and while they’ve drawn their last three putting a bit of a halt on their charge, it’s still 11 unbeaten in the league. Fancy.

Who could cause us trouble?

That young ragamuffin Will Grigg is the name we need to watch. It’s possible he won’t be available, but the likelihood is they’re going to see this as a must-win, meaning he’ll play regardless of any ailment.

The man’s been on fire in 2013, and while there are a few penalties in there offering leverage towards his tally, that doesn’t really hide the fact that this boy knows he can score in any given game. Much like Paddy Madden, he’s been clinically ruthless this campaign, and will not hesitate to fire his team to victory if the chance allows.

“Clinically ruthless” eh? A tad grand with my adverb usage there, but I’m sticking with it. He really is a threat.

Sky Blues team news

It’s been widely acknowledged that the first half against Doncaster was one of our most dominant performances of the season. The inclusion of Barton and Fleck to the middle of the park alongside Bailey, Baker and Moussa left us with the most technically sound/gifted middle five we’ve had all season.

OK, Baker’s a little sloppy at times, and Barton and Fleck aren’t the type of players you’d expect to supplement the already healthy quota of floaty players in our team – but in the main, it worked well. Barton sat deep, did his best to dictate the play, and used those lengthy limbs of his to get a foot in when it was needed in the second half.

It may have been a risk, but it feels as though that shape paid off, and Pressley’s likely to stick with it. Whether it lends itself to the demands of an away performance, which may require a heavier focus on counter attacking, we’ll have to see. But in terms of controlling the play – you’d imagine that line up has what it takes to retain possession relatively sensibly.

Up front, Callum Ball had a right tussle with the two beastly Donny centre-backs. He’ll start again, and will be hoping for a bit of an easier ride this time out, and a few opportunities to get on the scoresheet.

Prediction

I know we won last week, but I’m just not so sure about things anymore. I think this will be tense and passionate, given the proximity of the two teams, but maybe both will have to settle for a draw.

1-1.

Photo of the Bescot Stadium by (David Dixon) / CC BY-SA 2.0

2 comments

  1. Writing this after the match, luckily you didn’t get to see that although one steward as we went in said cash turnstiles were to the left which left you to believe you could have got in on the day. I must say this was a very very poor performance, plan for next season in the only way we can, ditch Bailey who has consistantly failed to deliver since I called him the next John Eustace,ditch Ball these are loan players that will play no part of our team next season.
    Play Thomas and Wilson plus Clark at left back, give some of the other youth players a chance to sample what League one is about because I have the feeling that we will be using these players alot more in the future due to the 65% rule.
    My thoughts on Pressley are mixed at the moment, post match interviews are getting annoying already if he uses the word brilliant again after a complete arse of a performance then I will turn off the radio. One thing he must get right is the players respecting the fans by showing a round of applause, went to Pompey and only a few players acknowledged our support at the end and today only flecky and Cyrus clapped at the end – bloody shocking.
    We are all in this together but in my opinion this has stopped since Robins departure, Pressley must install this into the players we all spend hard earnt cash, spending this watching the boys only for them to show a lack of respect unexceptable im afraid!,,,

  2. Yeah the whole ticket situation was daft – didn’t seem to stop the SBA turning up in their droves though. 2500 out of 7500 after we’ve just had our season prematurely ended is fantastic. That’s a real shame about the lack of acknowledgement for them at the end – have to be honest, they’ve always made a good effort at the games I’ve been to. You do wonder how much losing has to do with it, but even so, no excuse for ignoring the fans, especially with how things are going at the moment.

    Have to agree about Bailey – his general form since returning in January has been far below what we were afforded in his first spell. Time for Conor Thomas I think. He’s deserved far more game time this season than he’s managed.

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