OUR preview of each of our 23 Sky Bet League One opponents for 2018/19 continues as we look at Walsall.
WHEN DO WE PLAY THEM?
Away: Saturday November 3, 2018
Home: Saturday March 2, 2019
Walsall Town (founded 1877) and Walsall Swifts (formed 1879) had been in existence for several years before, in 1888, they decided to end their rivalry and amalgamate, becoming Walsall Town Swifts.
The team were playing at West Bromwich Road when, in 1901, they moved into the Midland League. Although they could finish no higher than fifth, they did gain a notable win over first division Burnley in the first round of the FA Cup.
Walsall would win promotion from Division Four in 1959/60, then earned a back-to-back promotion to Division Two.
The Saddlers would leave their home of Fellows Park to move to the Bescot Stadium (now the Banks’s Stadium) in 1990, earning promotion to the third tier in 1995, and a promotion to Division One followed in time for the 1999/2000 season.
Walsall spent one season in League Two in 2006/07 but returned to League One at the first attempt, with current manager Dean Keates scoring a vital goal in a 1-1 draw with Swindon Town in the final game of the season.
The Saddlers secured League One safety in the penultimate game of the 2017/18 season, in a 1-1 draw at Bradford City.
Their final position was 19th with 13 wins, 13 draws and 20 defeats.
The Banks’s Stadium opened in 1990 and has a capacity of 11,300 (all-seated). Away fans are seated in the University of Wolverhampton Stand at one end of the ground, nearest the M6.
Dean Keates made more than 250 appearances as a player for Walsall over two different spells and returned to the club as manager towards the end of last season, leaving National League side Wrexham.
Four players have joined Walsall so far this summer, including winger Zeli Ismail who had two loan spells with The Brewers in 2013/14 and 2015/16.
Josh Ginnelly has also joined The Saddlers, as has striker Andy Cook (Tranmere Rovers) and goalkeeper Chris Dunn (Wrexham).