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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Phil Brown on the visit of Walsall

16 March 2017

Blues boss Phil Brown is expecting nothing other than a tough game when they take on Walsall at Roots Hall this weekend.

The Saddlers’ good form over the last ten games has seen them join the race for a play-off spot, just four points behind Blues.

They did fall to defeat on Tuesday as Blues got back to winning ways at Coventry.

But Brown was quick to praise the job Jon Whitney has done and believes it will be a resolute Walsall side that turn up on the day.

“They’ve been quite impressive over the last two or three months,” said Brown.

“We got a 0-0 draw at their place and that was a good point on the day, albeit I thought we should have won the game if truth be known.

“They were going through a transition period of losing maybe nine or ten players and they took their time getting going.

“It’s a fairly similar story to us. We lost 14 players and took our time getting going.

“Now we’re going and we got a good win on Tuesday night but it will be a tough game on Saturday.

“Jon [Whitney] has moulded the side together with a couple of stalwarts at the back and then brought a little wizard in, in Oztumer, who is the same type of footballer as [Lionel] Messi or Jack Payne.

“They play I style of football that suits them and over the last two months have given themselves a chance to get into the play-offs. 

“We’ve got to kill that opportunity on Saturday.

Brown also hopes he will have a fully fit squad, barring the long-term absence of ‘keeper Mark Oxley, with Adam Thompson and Simon Cox, among others that missed the game at Coventry, looking to join in training before Saturday.

That, Brown said, will give him decisions on who to start against the Saddlers.

“Where we’re concerned, we’re fresh coming into the last nine games of the season and I’ve got almost every player available to me apart from probably Mark Oxley.

“With that in mind, with nine games to go, freshness and legs are vitally important.

“Some of the top managers and teams in the Premier League talk about using their squad and I’ve been afforded by the Chairman a decent sized squad and it would be foolish of me not to use it.”