Off the back of back-to-back home games, the Mariners travel to the West Midlands tomorrow afternoon to take on Walsall in our fifth match of the 2023/24 Sky Bet League Two season.
A 2-0 victory over Salford City came four days before a 1-1 draw against Mansfield Town at Blundell Park last Saturday with summer signing Abo Eisa scoring all three of our goals last week – his first Town efforts.
Paul Hurst confirmed to the media this week that central defender Niall Maher is back in contention after training last Friday before taking part in a full week’s worth of sessions ahead of tomorrow’s match.
The hopes that Otis Khan and Donovan Wilson could be involved against the Saddlers, though, were quashed by the gaffer who said that both weren’t quite ready yet.
Hurst named an unchanged line-up against Mansfield Town after the Mariners picked up their first three points of the league campaign against Salford City.
Tomorrow’s hosts have picked up three points on just one occasion so far this campaign – the same as Town – with that victory coming at home against much-fancied Stockport County in their second league match of the campaign.
So far yet to keep a clean sheet in the league, the Saddlers fell to a heavy 4-2 defeat away to Wrexham before picking up a point with a 2-2 draw against Crewe Alexandra.
Throughout the summer, Walsall recruited well with experienced defender Chris Hussey making the move from Stockport County along with defender Priestley Farquharson – a goalscorer for Newport County at Blundell Park last season – and striker Danny Johnson also signing for the West Midlands club.
Manager Mat Sadler is well known to Hurst and his assistant Chris Doig having captained their Shrewsbury Town team during their tenure in Shropshire. He was appointed as Walsall’s interim manager in April 2023 following the departure of Michael Flynn before, the following month, taking charge on a permanent basis.
The Mariners were victorious in the same fixture last season with a Harry Clifton brace giving Town a 2-1 win over Walsall – bizarrely just one day short of being a year ago to the day of tomorrow’s fixture. You can watch the highlights of that match HERE
The return fixture at Blundell Park came in March with the teams sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw when a Bryn Morris effort was cancelled out in the second half by Donervon Daniels.
Of the 68 previous matches between the two sides, the Mariners have won 24 compared to Walsall’s 32.
Ben Atkinson will referee tomorrow’s match in what will be his first Mariners match. He has so far officiated three other Sky Bet League Two matches this campaign and Atkinson will be assisted by Abbas Khan and Callum Jones.
Due to broadcast restrictions, tomorrow’s match is available on Mariners TV for overseas viewers only. Match passes are available now for just £10 and coverage will start around 2:30pm.