To continue our countdown to the new season, which starts in 3 days, RoversChat will be looking at the teams that Rovers will be facing in the 2017/18 season. The second of two teams we will look at today is Walsall…
Manager: Jon Whitney
Ground name: Bescot Stadium
Nickname: The Saddlers
Star Player: Erhun Oztumer
Player ins: Nicky Devlin, Mark Gillespie, Jon Guthrie, Luke Leahy
Player Outs: Craig MacGillivray, Franck Moussa, Isaiah Osbourne, Theo Vassell
Walsall are this season celebrating 130 years of their existence but only their 27th in the Banks Stadium, which was only finished in August of 1990. In that 27 years, Walsall will, including this season, have spent 17 years in the Third tier and The Saddlers have had their fair share of ups and downs. Their highest ever finish in the English ladder was back in 1898, where they finished 6th in the 2nd division (Championship). Walsall have never spent any time outside of league football.
Walsall are one of the longest serving members of League One, having spent the last 9 years in the division, even after having come within touching distance of promotion in the 15/16 Season where they finished 3rd missing out on automatic promotion by a single point, only to get beaten in the playoffs 3-0 and 3-1 in both respective semi-final legs against Barnsley.
This season looks to be a worrying one for The Saddlers, after a lot of angry fan reaction to several alleged bad decisions by the Walsall board. After a respectable 14th place finish last season, the Walsall fans look to be facing a relegation battle. A key factor in deciding this fate will be the performances of former Blackburn target Erhun Oztumer – who scored 15 goals last season – and new keeper Mark Gillespie who Walsall fans will be hoping he can put in some big performances to save them from a 4th tier future.
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