Following the midweek results Town have dropped to 5th place in League One, 3 points behind 2nd place Leeds United with four games to play. Walsall are sitting comfortably in mid-table in 13th place with 54 points.
Overall Town have a fair home record against Walsall, but it has been poor in recent years as they have only won 3 of the last 10 homes games (since 1987) with 4 draws and 3 losses.
Saturday will see the return of Jamie Vincent who was released by Town at the end of last season, as well as club favourite Sam Parkin. The Walsall no.9 signed a 1 year deal back in July 2009 after being released from Luton Town. Prolific whilst at Town with 67 goals in 124 league games, Sam was sold to Ipswich for £550,000 in 2005 but failed to make an impact following injury. Injury problems have continued to blight his career at Luton where he was sent out on loan to Leyton Orient. This season Sam has scored 3 goals in 24 league appearances for Walsall and was on the bench for the 4-3 defeat against Huddersfield in the week. Since leaving Town Sam has only scored 18 goals in 105 appearances over 6 seasons, a 17% strike rate compared to 54% at Swindon.
Swindon have been training this week at the National Training Centre at Bisham Abbey in Buckinghamshire. Wilson hopes this will provide a “change of scenery” for the squad and will allow them to focus on the remaining four games. This certainly is a smart move by the boss to get the squad to concentrate on the task in hand after the recent good performances not delivering the vital three points. Also the perfect training surface at the training centre will be a welcome relief from the heavily worn King Edward’s Place training ground pitches.
After Amankwaah made a positive impact against Exeter in the week, I’m hoping Wilson defies a Liverpool directive and drops Darby to the bench. The remainder of the Town team will be unchanged.
A 9 point gap now exists between Swindon on 77 points and 7th place Colchester on 68 points. With four games to go Town realistically need just 1 more win to be assured of at least a play-off place. I’m confident that can be achieved… but here’s hoping it won’t drag on for too long, although as a Swindon fan, nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.
Other selected weekend fixtures; Huddersfield v Millwall (tonight), Charlton v Norwich and Gillingham v Leeds. Results elsewhere could go in favour of both Leeds and Swindon with fellow promotion contenders playing against each other so there is every chance Town can improve our league position.
Total Swindon league record v Walsall:
- Pld – 83
- Won – 30
- Draw – 23
- Lost – 30
- For – 122
- Agg – 129
League games at the County Ground:
- Pld – 41
- Won – 20
- Draw – 11
- Lost 10
- For – 83
- Agg – 57
Recent 5 games against Walsall:
- 12th Jan 2008 (a) 2-2 – Nicholas, Easton
- 23rd Feb 2008 (h) 0-3
- 29th Nov 2008 (a) 1-2 – Paynter
- 27th Jan 2009 (h) 3-2 – Amankwaah, Cox, Paynter
- 19th Sept 2009 (a) 1-1 – Paynter