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Club News

Match Preview: Walsall vs Barrow AFC

12 March 2024

Club News

Match Preview: Walsall vs Barrow AFC

12 March 2024

The Bluebirds picked up another three points last weekend when they faced Colchester United at Holker Street. The Cumbrians now travel to Birmingham tonight as we face Walsall at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.

In their most recent fixture, Pete Wild’s side ran 2-0 winners at Holker Street as they faced Colchester United on Saturday afternoon.

Looking back on the game both sides created a fair number of chances to score goals to win the game however, it was the home side who were the more clinical. Wild’s men continued to perform throughout the game, with a Man of the Match performance from Kian Spence.

The game also saw Spence get himself on the scoresheet for the first time since the 27th of January, after he scored with a sublime finish into the top right corner following a freekick. This goal now takes his current tally up to seven for the season, and it now makes it his highest-scoring season in professional football.

The game also saw attacker Ben Whitfield craft an assist for Sam Foley in second-half stoppage time, which secured all three points, on what was his 300th EFL appearance.

Team News

Junior Tiensa is back in full training with the squad and in the mix for selection for today.

Jamie Proctor is back from his suspension and available for selection in the match-day squad.

The Opposition

Walsall currently sits in 9th on 54 points in Sky Bet League Two under the leadership of Manager Mat Sadler.

Sadler took control of the Saddlers back in April 2023, and last season guided Walsall to a 16th-placed finish, missing out on the Play-Offs by 20 points. In their last five games, The Saddlers have picked up 12 points from four wins out of the five. Their most recent result in last weekend’s game brought a 2-0 loss against 23rd-placed Forest Green Rovers.

Someone the Bluebirds should look out for is striker, Freddie Draper. The striker started his career at Lincoln City, where he remained until January 2023, he made 12 appearances and scored one goal, before transferring on loan to Irish side Drogheda United. He made 21 appearances and scored eight goals, before returning to Lincoln City from his loan spell. In July 2023 he made the season-long loan move to League Two side Walsall, where he has remained this season, and so far in 21 league games he has scored ten goals and made three assists. So far this season he’s top scorer at the club.


Barrow last faced Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in March 2023, when Barrow was battling in League Two to beat the Brummie side to a Play-Off place. During that match The Saddlers were the better side and dominated possession throughout the game, however, they failed to convert their chances, and the game was won within 25 minutes when Billy Waters scored the only goal of the game to secure all three points for the Bluebirds.

In total, both sides have faced each other seven times since Barrow’s return to the EFL. Added to this, The Saddlers are yet to win a game against the Bluebirds, with the Cumbrians winning four of the meetings between the two sides and three of the fixtures ending in draws.

The two sides have already faced each other this season at Holker Street in November 2023, when the Cumbrians were riding high in the automatic promotion spaces. Throughout the match both sides created a fair number of chances, however, an in-form Whitfield helped secure the three points for Wild’s men. The game also saw captain Niall Canavan bag his second goal of the season.


The man taking charge of tonight’s fixture is Martin Woods. Woods has taken charge of 25 fixtures in this current season, with 24 of these coming in EFL competitions. He has handed out 99 yellow cards this season, whilst giving out three red cards.

The last game he took charge of featuring the Bluebirds, came in August 2023 when we faced Sutton United at Holker Street. A game that saw us come back from behind, to complete a 2-1 comeback in the last 11 minutes of the game and pick up all three points, thanks to goals from Emile Acquah and Jamie Proctor.

He will be joined by assistant referees Kenwyn Hughes and Paul Stonier. With Alistair Nelson as the Fourth Official.

Words by Dylan Whitbread

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