Date: 7th December 2007 at 12:03pm
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Following two league defeats in a row, it’s only fair we play a team who’ve had two league wins in a row – as Walsall visit Gresty Road.

Walsall are enjoying a fairly good season despite a poor start. They only managed two points from their first five games and only Leeds’ 15 point deduction kept them off the bottom at the start of September. A turn in form though has seen them lose just two of their last 13 games and rise up to 9th. They even enjoyed a 1-0 win over Nottm Forest on Tuesday.

The tie has a history of minor rivalry but in recent years it’s been more of a chip on Walsall’s shoulder than ours. Whilst for many Crewe fans this is seen as just another league game, Walsall fans are getting themselves pumped up for this one.

One fan’s blog on the Express & Star website says: ‘….we`re long overdue a win over the annoying little ***** from Crewe, so three points would be very welcome’… and you don’t have to look too hard for anti-Dario/Crewe comments on their message boards either.


Finally, ‘keeper Clayton Ince returns to Gresty Road for the first time since leaving in 2005. Be sure to give him a good reception before kick off.

Vital Quotes:

Walsall manager Richard Money spoke of his admiration for the Alex on icBirmingham:

“I like their management team very much.

“They have been very good to me over the years and Neil Baker there was very instrumental in us bringing Clayton Ince to the club.

“It will be another tough game for us tomorrow. They have just lost three games in a row but prior to that had won five or six and they will be very keen to get back on track.”

Crewe Team News:

Crewe don’t seem to have any fresh injury worries after Tuesday, although Ben Rix could be back, Steve Holland should name the same team.

Possible: Williams, Jones, McCready, Baudet, Woodards, Moore, Roberts, Cox, Bennett, Church, Maynard.

Player to watch: Elliott Bennett

A splendid performance on his debut on Tuesday. His raw pace and confidence on the ball will cause anyone problems in this division. Just don’t confuse him with Maynard.

Walsall Team News:

Richard Money should be naming the same team that beat Forest on Tuesday.

Possible 11: Ince, Gerrard, Fox, Weston, Dann, Bradley, Sonko, Sweeney, Wrack, Ricketts, Mooney.

Player to watch: Clayton Ince

Around four clean sheets in his last 5 games and the November Player of the Month. Probably not the best time to face Ince.

Match Facts & Stats

The two sides have faced each other 60 times in their history and Walsall come out on top with 30 wins. Crewe have had 19 wins whilst 11 have ended in draws.

Ref Watch:

The referee for Saturday’s home game against Walsall will be Mr Scott Mathieson from Stockport.

Mathieson is an experienced league ref, having refereed in the league since 1997.He began refereeing in the Cheshire area prior to his promotion to the Football League Assistants list in 1990. It took four years before he was promoted to the national list of referees.

Saturday won’t be his first Alex game of the season either after he refereed the trip to Tranmere earlier in the season. That day he gave the Alex a penalty in a 1-1 draw.

Before that, the last Crewe game he took charge of was over five years ago. It was the painful last day of the 01/02 season at home to Rotherham, where we needed to over come a 10 goal goal difference deficit to avoid relegation. That day he booked just the one Crewe player, Efe Sodje.

Last season he refereed Walsall’s League Two clash with Darlington which ended 0-0. He booked a player from each side that day, including Walsall’s Hector Sam.

So far this season he has handed out 24 yellows in 14 games and just one red.

He will be assisted by P I Thompson and D Unsworth and the fourth official will be Mr C Dunn.

Match Prediction:

Crewe 2-1 Walsall

Next Fixtures:

Hatlepool (A).

5th December 2007.

5:00 kick off.