Preview: Walsall vs. Carlisle United - prediction, team news, lineups

sportsmole.co.uk, 24 November 2022, 18:37
Walsall will be hoping to book their place in the third round of the FA Cup when they take on Carlisle United at the Poundland Bescot Stadium on Saturday.

It is a clash between two teams in League Two that met not too long ago, playing out a 0-0 draw at Brunton Park earlier in November.

Match preview

To reach this stage of the competition, Walsall defeated League One opposition, winning 2-0 away at Wycombe Wanderers at the beginning of the month, courtesy of goals from Jacob Maddox and Isaac Hutchinson.

That victory came during a recent uptick in form for the Saddlers, who are now six games undefeated in all competitions, stretching back to a 1-1 draw at Sutton United in late October.

These improved performances mean that Michael Flynn's side can now begin looking at pushing for the playoff places, as they are now just four points off seventh place, currently in 11th, on 27 points.

Despite showing they have what it takes to win away from home in the first round of the FA Cup, it is at the Poundland Bescot Stadium where Walsall have really flourished this season, and they have the fourth-best home record in the entire division.

This competence on home soil was again on display last time out, as the Saddlers secured a 2-1 victory at home to Crawley Town, with Hayden White scoring a first-half goal, and Danny Johnson bagging in injury time to wrap up an important three points.

Carlisle will prove to be tough opposition, however, as they currently occupy a place in the League Two playoffs, sitting sixth in the standings, just six points off the automatic promotion places.

In the previous round, the Blues ran out 2-1 winners at home to Tranmere Rovers, the second time within a space of a week that they recorded a victory against Micky Mellon's side, also emerging victorious at Prenton Park in the previous game, winning 2-0.

Paul Simpson has clearly set his team up with an attacking focus in a lot of games this season, as indicated by a superb scoring record, notching 30 so far, the joint-second highest total, behind third-placed Northampton Town.

This ability to create chances is well illustrated by the Blues' most recent trip to playoff-chasing Salford City, emerging 4-1 victors at the Peninsula Stadium to instil a four-point gap between them and their opponents.

In trademark fashion, striker Krystian Dennis was again in on the act, opening the scoring in the third minute before adding the finishing touches to a quality performance with 10 minutes to spare, with Callum Guy and Corey Whelan also helping themselves to goals.

Walsall FA Cup form:

W

Walsall form (all competitions):

D

W

W

W

D

W

Carlisle United FA Cup form:

W

Carlisle United form (all competitions):

L

W

W

D

D

W

Team News

Walsall striker Connor Wilkinson is still on the treatment table with a knee injury, but they have shown little signs of needing him in recent weeks, with Danny Johnson set to continue in attack, next to Tom Knowles, who assisted Hayden White's opener last time out.

Jack Earing came off the bench against Crawley last week, having suffered a knock in the last match against Carlisle, and so he could make a return to the starting lineup, replacing Brandon Comley.

Carlisle manager Paul Simpson has some injury concerns to deal with heading into Saturday's game, with both Fin Back and Morgan Feeney going off in the first half against Salford, suffering hamstring issues.

There is more fear about Back's injury, and he has returned to parent club Nottingham Forest for an assessment, so he is very unlikely to be involved, and Jack Ellis could potentially come in at right-back.

The manager is unlikely to want to risk Feeney either, with Corey Whelan instead set to start at centre-back.

Walsall possible starting lineup:

Evans; White, Daniels, Monthe; Bennett, Maddox, Earing, Gordon, Hutchinson; Johnson, Knowles

Carlisle United possible starting lineup:

Holy; Ellis, Whelan, Huntington, Mellish, Armer; Charters, Guy, Moxon; Edmondson, Dennis

We say: Walsall 1-1 Carlisle United

Walsall and Carlisle are very evenly matched, as illustrated by their 0-0 draw earlier this month. There may be some goals in this encounter, due to the attacking threat posed by Danny Johnson and Krystian Dennis, but a replay could be on the cards to decide who progresses to the third round.

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