Walsall v Northampton: Saddlers must find their shooting boots at Bescot
Michael Flynn’s side need to find their shooting boots after a deeply frustrating defeat at Bradford City last weekend.
The Saddlers will have analyzed their performance at Valley Parade throughout this week, and the video footage will again have underlined how well they did between the two boxes.
Walsall played with energy, moved the ball sharply and got plenty of crosses to question the Bantams defense.
The clips, however, will also have offered a frustrating reminder of their lack of cruelty.
Bradford, simply put, was spared.
The Saddlers should have grabbed at least one point but their wastage in front of goal and lack of concentration at the back cost them dearly.
Flynn will be desperate to avoid a repeat against the Cobblers and, in turn, end their losing streak.
Four straight defeats in all competitions have clouded the mood after a bright start to the campaign and fans could do with a pick-me-up – although visitors Northampton will provide a stern test.
Jon Brady’s men have lost just one of their seven games so far and are also unbeaten on their travels.
This only underscores the fact that Walsall must make the most of his opportunities because if the shoemakers are sniffed out, they will most likely take advantage.
Something Flynn is aiming to establish is better momentum in the final third.
Danny Johnson’s seven goals already make him a shoo-in for the selection despite missing an early penalty at Bradford.
It’s just a matter of knowing how to support it effectively.
Tom Knowles joined him in attack at Valley Parade and won that penalty brilliantly with a neat turn while drawing a foul. The summer signing from Yeovil Town is more than happy to run against defenders and take risks, but has missed his fair share of chances.
Andy Williams, meanwhile, is keen to get involved but struggles to carve out clear opportunities – with the serve missing and the odds stacked against him.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the two feature tomorrow, but with Danny Cashman waiting in the wings, they’ll be eager to grab their first campaign goals.
Walsall bolstered the squad ahead of the clash with free agent signings Jacob Maddox and Jonas Mukuna.
The former looks more likely to be involved given he featured 18 times for Ligue 1 side Burton Albion last season, while 17-year-old Mukuna is yet to make an appearance in senior competition.
The Saddlers haven’t benefited from any midweek encounters in this game, so they should feel fresh.
Again, a positive result would just be the tonic as they prepare for another hectic series of encounters.
It’s time for Walsall to find that killer instinct.