Sunderland have faced Walsall three times already this season and have yet to taste victory which will add some extra spice to Saturday’s game at the Stadium of Light.
SEASON SO FAR
The Saddlers started the season brilliantly and were undefeated in their first six games, with some heralding them as potential promotion candidates.
Our previous league meeting in November resulted in a 2-2 draw and that left Walsall on the outside of the play-offs and 10 points clear of the relegation spaces.
Form has dipped significantly since that point, and the Saddlers have just four league wins in their last 19 games.
That run of form has left Dean Keates’ men just two points clear of the danger zone heading into the game at the weekend.
But Sunderland fans should not expect a walkover this weekend, and they will remember vividly our previous three games against the Saddlers which resulted in two draws and a rare home defeat in the FA Cup second round.
WHAT THEY SAID
Dean Keates spoke to the Express and Star after their 3-2 defeat midweek against Portsmouth:
“The endeavour, the work rate, it was all there and on another day we could have got a point.
“I’m just disappointed with the goals we conceded. Portsmouth didn’t have to earn their goals.
“Other than the goals I thought we had some decent phases of the play. Second-half we told the players to be a bit braver on the ball and they were.
“We’re disappointed not to take anything from the game. But we will re-group. We have now got to get something at Sunderland.”
ONE TO WATCH
Walsall will welcome Bishop Auckland born Andy Cook back into the fold this weekend as he has now served the final game of a three-match suspension.
Cook bagged himself a goal in our 1-1 FA Cup draw with Walsall and proved to be a very difficult player to play against due to his strength and aerial abilities.
He is the Saddlers’ top scorer this season with 11 goals and he has vowed to score the goals that will keep Walsall afloat this season.