Walsall’s hopes of a third league win on the bounce have been hit by the international call-ups for goalkeeper Clayton Ince and in-form midfielder Mark Bradley, plus another crop of injuries.
The pair, on duty for Trinidad and Tobago and the Welsh Under-21 squad respectively, will miss Saturday’s home game with relegation-bound Cheltenham Town who have drawn their last two matches, at Huddersfield then at home to Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night.
On each occasion Martin Allen’s battlers have come agonisingly close to victory, and they will do doubt fancy their chances against such a seriously weakened Saddlers.
With left-backs Paul Boertien and Netan Sansara and striker Jabo Ibehre all doubtful with injuries, manager Chris Hutchings has been on the phone again hoping to bring in men on loan before last night’s deadline, but at the time of writing he had drawn a blank.
Walsall are already without long-term injured men Anthony Gerrard and Stephen Roberts, and striker Michael Ricketts is due to complete his five-match suspension after Saturday’s game. So some of the club’s promising youngsters may have to step into the breach.
Rene Gilmartin will replace Ince, who is playing for Trinidad and Tobago against Honduras and the USA in Wordl Cup qualifiers, while Stephen Hughes is expected to take over from Bradley, called up for Wales’ UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying clashes with Luxembourg.
Bradley, who had scored in each of Walsall’s last two matches, has this week receive warm praise from the Welsh under-21 manager Brian Flynn.
Flynn believes the youngster can soon step up to the Welsh senior squad, and said: “He’s a manager’s dream player. As a midfield player you need discipline to play in a certain role.