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The inside track on Walsall

1 December 2022

Rovers are looking to get back to winning ways when they take on Walsall in Sky Bet League Two on Friday night.

Danny Schofield’s side have gone 13 days without a game since losing 3-0 at Colchester United last time out.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents.

Head coach

Michael Flynn took over as Walsall head coach in February on a deal that runs until the summer of 2024. His only managerial role prior to that was a hugely successful spell with hometown club Newport, who he helped survive in the EFL before twice leading them to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final.

Flynn was initially appointed as caretaker, replacing Graham Westley in March 2017 with the club 11 points adrift of safety. They secured their safety on the final day of the season, beating Notts County 2-1 at Rodney Parade.

As well as his success in the league, the 42-year-old also masterminded several cup upsets, beating the likes of Leeds United and Leicester City, as well as forcing Tottenham Hotspur to an Emirates FA Cup replay.

Flynn faced league leaders Forest Green Rovers in his first game in charge, and won 1-0 thanks to a George Miller penalty. The Saddlers finished 16th in Sky Bet League Two.


Walsall have lost just one of their past nine games stretching back to a 1-1 draw at Stockport County on October 1. They then beat promotion chasing Northampton Town at the Poundland Bescot Stadium, before defeating AFC Wimbledon four days later. 

Their only defeat in recent weeks came away at Mansfield Town, but they quickly recovered from that by picking up a point at Sutton United. The Saddlers ended October with back-to-back victories at home to Harrogate Town and Rochdale respectively. 

They have picked up four points from a possible six so far in November, backing up a goalless draw at Carlisle United with a 2-1 win at home to Crawley Town last time out.

Key men

Former Sheffield Wednesday trainee Hayden White signed for Walsall from Mansfield Town in the summer of 2020. 

The central defender got his first taste of men’s football with Bolton Wanderers in 2013, where he made a handful of first team appearances before spending time out on loan with the likes of Carlisle United and Blackpool. He spent a short period with Peterborough United before a loan move to Mansfield was made permanent in 2017.

White made 68 appearances across three seasons for the Stags, before joining Walsall. Friday night’s fixture will be his 100th appearance for the Saddlers, after establishing himself as an integral part of their backline. 

Midfielder Isaac Hutchinson joined Walsall on a free transfer from Sky Bet League One side Derby County. After coming through the ranks at Brighton and Hove Albion, the 22-year-old joined Southend United on a permanent deal in the summer of 2018. His only league goal for the Shrimpers came against Rovers in October 2019 via a superb free kick. It proved to be in vain though as Rovers won the game 7-1.

His form at Roots Hall led to a move to Derby, but he spent the majority of time out on loan at Forest Green and Crawley while with the Rams. Hutchinson has made 23 appearances so far this season, scoring three goals.

Striker Danny Johnson joined Walsall on loan from fellow League Two side Mansfield in the summer. 

Johnson found the net regularly for Gateshead in a three-year spell with the Non League outfit, scoring 44 goals in 78 starts, before moving north of the border to join Motherwell. He then had a short stint with Dundee prior to moving back south to sign for Leyton Orient in January 2020.

His first full season in the EFL saw him score 18 league goals for Orient, before Mansfield came calling. He struggled to secure a regular spot in the starting XI and moved to Walsall in search of just that, with the goals coming again for the Saddles this season. The 29-year-old has found the back of the net 10 times in 18 league starts, meaning he has now surpassed 100 in his career.

Last league meeting

Rovers beat Walsall 3-1 at the Eco-Power Stadium when the two sides last met back in March 2019. A penalty from John Marquis along with Mallik Wilks’ strike put Grant McCann’s side 2-0 up inside four minutes, before Josh Gordon pulled a goal back for the visitors. A free-kick from Danny Andrew then put the game to bed six minutes before half-time.

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