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Nov 13, 2021 at 3pm UK
HarrogateHarrogate Town
Phillips (88')
White (73')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Power (20'), Diamond (61'), Armstrong (82')
Falkingham (17')

Preview: Walsall vs. Harrogate Town - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Walsall vs. Harrogate Town - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's League Two clash between Walsall and Harrogate Town, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Harrogate Town's unlikely push for a League Two playoff place will continue when they travel to Walsall on Saturday afternoon.

One of five teams unable to be separated on 23 points in the playoff mix, Harrogate will be hoping to pull clear of their fellow top-seven hopefuls with a victory this weekend.

Match preview

Promoted from the National League via the 2019-20 playoffs, Harrogate Town's first season as a Football League ended with them finishing comfortably clear of the relegation spots.

Much of the club's success in recent years has been down to long-time manager Simon Weaver, who was appointed in May 2009 and has taken charge of over 550 Harrogate games.

As the longest serving manager in the Football League, Weaver has seen his fair share during his time in the game, but he is yet to oversee a victory against Saturday's opponents Walsall.

The pair played out two draws last season, starting with a 2-2 at Harrogate's EnviroVent Stadium in their first ever meeting, before a goalless stalemate at Walsall.

Having suffered a stuttering start to the campaign, Walsall can ill-afford anymore slip ups if they truly wish to drag themselves clear of the relegation battle.

One win from their opening six games left the Saddlers scratching around at the foot of the table, with their 119 years in the Football League looking under threat.

An up-turn in form of late has seen Walsall climb the table to relative safety, as the Midlands-based club have avoided defeat in each of their last six league matches, winning three games during that time.

A win for Matthew Taylor's side could see Walsall launched into playoff contention themselves, as their current points tally of 20 is just three off Harrogate in seventh.

If they are secure the three points required, Walsall will need to see an improvement on their home form this season, where they have won only three of the seven games played at the Banks's Stadium.

Walsall League Two form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

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

Harrogate Town League Two form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Harrogate Town form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Only two players in League Two have netted more goals than Luke Armstrong and the Harrogate man will be looking to add to his eight goals for the campaign.

Despite his prolific form in front of goal this season, Armstrong has gone two games without netting and failure to score against Walsall will represent his longest scoreless streak this term.

Goalkeeper Mark Oxley has not kept a clean sheet in League Two since late September, but the 31-year-old shot-stopper is likely to start between the sticks.

Similarly, Walsall have had their own marksman this season, with George Miller on seven for the season already.

Miller has three goals in his last trio of League Two appearances and will be looking to inflict more pain on Harrogate goalkeeper Oxley.

Brendan Kiernan netted the only goal for the League Two outfit against non-league King's Lynn Town last weekend and Taylor could turn to the winger this weekend.

On loan Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Carl Rushworth should retain his place in the side, whilst Manny Monthe will marshall the backline for Walsall.

Walsall possible starting lineup:
Rushworth; White, Menayese, Monthe, Ward; Earing, Labadie; Phillips, Osabede, Kiernan; Miller

Harrogate Town possible starting lineup:
Oxley; Burrell, Smith, Hall, Page; Thomson, Pattison, Falkingham, Diamond; Muldoon, Armstrong

We say: Walsall 1-2 Harrogate Town

Harrogate continue to go from strength to strength as a Football League club and with the playoffs in sight, they will be looking to challenge the top seven places come the end of the campaign.

A win away to Walsall will represent a first for Weaver and taking advantage of a stuttering side could see Harrogate stretch away from their fellow challengers.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 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.Under 2.5:data

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