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Nov 10, 2021 at 7pm UK
Forest GreenForest Green Rovers

Khan (60'), Labadie (82'), Menayese (86')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Stevens (15'), Young (88')
Bunker (36'), Evans (77'), Hendry (81')

Preview: Walsall vs. Forest Green Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Walsall vs. Forest Green Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's EFL Trophy clash between Walsall and Forest Green Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

League Two leaders Forest Green Rovers visit Walsall on Wednesday night, as the teams clash in a decisive EFL Trophy Group L tie.

While the Saddlers are already guaranteed to go through, a win for the visitors will send them into the knockout stages - though they could possibly progress with a point.

Match preview

Though winning automatic promotion to League One is Forest Green's primary target this season, following defeat in the playoffs last season, the upwardly mobile Gloucestershire club are also seeking to make a name for themselves in the cups.

The side managed by Rob Edwards fell to a shock FA Cup loss on Sunday, though, away to St Albans City. Despite taking the lead through a Mathew Stevens strike in the 18th minute, they were ultimately beaten 3-2 at Clarence Park; slumping out in the competition's first round.

Rovers have fared little better in the EFL Trophy to date, as both of their games in this competition so far have been decided by means of a penalty shootout: they were edged out by Northampton in the first and then beat Brighton Under-21s 5-3 on spot-kicks last month.

Top of the table after 15 matches in the EFL's fourth tier, Forest Green will not want to squander hard-earned momentum with back-to-back losses in the space of a few days. They face a long round trip to Hartlepool next weekend, though, so Edwards may also have at least half an eye on that league fixture when selecting the team to meet an in-form opposition side.

Unbeaten in eight matches ahead of Tuesday's game, Walsall will be looking to extend that fine run and continue manager Matt Taylor's rebuild at Bescot Stadium by completing Group L with a perfect record of three wins from three.

After struggling for consistent form through the opening weeks of the current campaign, the Saddlers have now started to find their feet in League One, having gone through October without tasting defeat. That leaves them 14th in the table, still some 11 points adrift of the pace set by Forest Green.

They started this month with an FA Cup victory over underdogs King's Lynn Town on Saturday afternoon - Brendan Kiernan's 15th-minute winner proved enough to earn the win - and Walsall's pursuit of a place in the third round for just the second time in six seasons therefore goes on.

Having avoided a banana skin in the nation's oldest cup competition, they now switch their attentions to the much-maligned EFL Trophy, where progress is already assured.

For that reason, several players could be rested by former Bolton defender Taylor, who will be planning ahead for Harrogate's forthcoming visit to the West Midlands when Walsall return to league action next weekend.

Walsall EFL Trophy form:
  • W
  • W

Walsall form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Forest Green Rovers EFL Trophy form:
  • L
  • W

Forest Green Rovers form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Forest Green manager Rob Edwards will continue to be without centre-back Dan Sweeney for Wednesday's game, but Jordan Moore-Taylor returned at the weekend and could start once again.

Midfielder Elliot Whitehouse is still undergoing rehabilitation and is yet to make an appearance for Rovers this term, while Baily Cargill may be brought back in to the engine room after being benched on Sunday.

On eight goals so far this season, Jamaican striker Jamille Matt will hope to regain his starting spot up front.

Walsall, meanwhile, have no new concerns on the injury front, but may make changes from the side that beat King's Lynn.

Manager Matt Taylor has seen defenders Manny Monthe and Rollin Menayese enjoy some good form recently, so they may continue to be paired in the centre of a back four, while the experienced ex-Ireland international Stephen Ward continues at left-back.

On loan from Leicester, Tyrese Shade has also made an impact of late, and could feature in support of George Miller up front.

Walsall possible starting lineup:
Rose; Leak, Monthe, Menayese, Ward; Bates, Labadie; Kiernan, Osadebe, Shade; Miller

Forest Green Rovers possible starting lineup:
McGee; Wilson, Moore-Taylor, Cargill, Cadden; Adams, Stevenson; Young, March, Aitchison; Stevens

We say: Walsall 1-1 Forest Green Rovers (Forest Green win on penalties)

While Walsall's fate is already decided, the home side will want to maintain momentum by keeping their unbeaten run going.

Therefore, they can match Forest Green over the course of 90 minutes, but Rovers will edge through to the next round after a third successive penalty shootout.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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