Tuesday, January 31, 2012
"MAD DOG" MIGHT STRUGGLE TO GET COUNTY "UP" FOR THIS ....
LEAGUE 1 : WALSALL - NOTTS COUNTY
I suspect County might be running on empty, this will be their fourth start in ten days, they will be very disappointed to have gone out of the cup to Stevenage at the weekend , missing out on a huge 5th round match with Tottenham, whom boss Martin Allen has big family ties with. It will be hard for them to get "up" for this game with little to play for in the league and they have met two teams recently who play at a very high tempo, so energy reserves will be low. They have an early chance to get some revenge over Stevenage, who come to Meadow Lane on saturday and might be more interested in that, they are certainly stronger on home soil, having already lost nine times on the road, the most of any team in League 1. Striker Lee Hughes has renewed off the pitch problems and it is hard to see too many positives for County, who have won just once in ten starts.
Hosts have not played for ten days, so should be fresh and raring to go, they are coming off road draws at Carlisle United and Brentford and whilst they showed limited ambition in those games, it was hard not to be impressed by how they stuck to their task and they are clearly geared up for a big relegation battle, anything earned on the road is a bonus, but it is at home where their fate will be decided and they have already collected points here against a number of top teams. I was surprised that they were able to take Belgium U19 international attacking midfielder Florent Cuvelier on loan from Stoke City, he is being watched by Tottenham and Manchester City and is definitely one with a huge future and was voted into the European Under-19 Championships team of the tournament last summer. He goes straight into the squad.
Saddlers are outside the drop zone only on goal difference and travel to Scunthorpe United, the team immediately below them on Saturday, so will be desperate to increase their advantage before then. They have a very tough finish to the season, playing all of the top six in the last two months, so this coming 5-6 weeks will go a long way to deciding their fate. Big game for the hosts and off level ball, they have to be my pick. 1.5 units Walsall level ball 1.98 asian line.