Preview: The Shakers go into this game unbeaten in two, in form, scoring goals and with new additions set to make an appearance in a Bury shirt and, for one of those additions, it will be a very welcome return to someone who, for many fans, is an absolute, bona-fide, Shakers legend.
None of the 2,532 Bury fans left the last home game complaining they hadn’t been entertained with the Shakers 4-1 up at half time and James Vaughan writing himself into the history books as he became only the 16th Bury player, in our 131-year history, to score four goals in a game.
That one game will stand out come the end of the season, the game where, hopefully, the lads turned the corner and started on the straight run that will again, hopefully, bring positive results as we head into the tail end of the season.
So, how can you improve on a performance like that? The answer, as it has since shown, is to sign Jermaine Pennant and throw him into the squad. From a Champions League Final v AC Milan to Gigg Lane and a home game with Walsall. Whilst the two games are years apart, that’s where Jermaine is now and it’s where he feels comfortable.
The one thing you get from speaking to him at Carrington is that he’s happy. He’s comfortable and he’s already firmly settled within the squad. He lives locally, it’s a ten-minute journey to training and he’s in a happy place. A vibrant and confident training ground is a huge plus for any player.
And what can you say about Ryan Lowe? As with Jermaine, he’s in a happy place. He knows the club; he loves the club, he loves the fans and the fans love him. He knows the people within the club and he commands respect from anyone involved in the club, no matter who they are. His very arrival at Carrington, earlier this week, brought a massive boost of confidence and an immediate reaction from both staff and fans alike.
Both Ryan and Jermaine will be involved in Saturday’s game with Walsall. Pennant more than likely will be in the starting XI with Lowe in the dugout as player coach and, maybe even on the bench and a substitute. The roar that his introduction into the side, when it comes, will, surely, be one to savour as it echoes around Gigg Lane.
Head coach Chris Brass has also been boosted with the news that many of his injured players are now available to him. Only the long term injured are now being seen by the club’s medical staff. Chris Brass suddenly has the benefit of an almost fully fit squad and has several options now available to him and Brassy’s biggest problem will be who does he leave out?
Due to James Vaughan scoring six goals in two games, we’ve had to have a new batch of corner flags delivered and, hopefully, they too will soon be broken. Perhaps, the club shop may soon be selling signed, broken, corner flags – it could be a niche market!
During the 5-1 demolition of Peterborough last weekend, Vaughan celebrated George Miller’s goal more than he celebrated his own four and there can be no doubt that team spirit within Carrington is flowing superbly now.
With confidence boosted, high morale levels and the team scoring goals and then factor in the addition of quality of Pennant and Lowe to the squad and who knows where it will take us...
Matt Preston is set to retain his place in Walsall's defence after impressing. Reece Flanagan played for the reserves in midweek as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.
Andreas Makris, Scott Laird and Franck Moussa are also pushing to feature after limited game-time recently but the Shakers will be aware that Walsall have lost just once in their last six games under manager Jon Whitney.
Betting: Sky Bet make Bury the 7/5 favourites to win at Walsall on Saturday afternoon and the visiting Saddlers are priced up by Sky Bet as 19/10 outsiders and the draw is available at 12/5.
Four or more goals have been scored in all of Bury’s last four matches and Sky Bet go 2/1 that there’s over 3.5 goals in this contest.
Five top tips:
1. Winning Margin – Bury by 3 or more goals - 11/1
2. Bury 3 Walsall 0 - 22/1
3. James Vaughan first goal & a 3-0 win – 66/1
4. James Vaughan and Jermaine Pennant to both score – 7/1
5. Bury to score on both halves of the game – 9/4
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Referee: Saturdays referee is Mr Carl Boyeson from East Yorkshire.
Carl’s last game was on Saturday, 21st January when he took charge of the League Two game between Blackpool and Yeovil Town at Bloomfield Road. The game finished 2-2 and no cards were shown during the 90 minutes.
So far this season, Carl has taken charge of 23 games – showing 76 Yellow cards and two Red cards. His last game involving the Shakers was earlier this season at Sixfields Stadium when he was match referee for the Northampton Town game. Seven Yellow cards were shown in a 3-2 defeat.
His last visit to Gigg Lane was last season and saw a 0-0 draw with Barnsley. It was a busy night for Mr Boyeson with a total seven Yellow cards and one Red card shown during the game.
Coverage: We’ll have full match commentary, via Shakers Player HD, with Maurice Dickson and a mystery guest in the Press Box – Brian Rigby is off on his jollies again! The lads will be on air from around 2:45pm. We’ll also have full coverage of the game with updates via our official Twitter account (@buryfcofficial).
Team news will go live across all our Social Media platforms from around 2pm and later, on Saturday evening, we’ll have our match report together with match action photos from our new club photographer Ross Cooke, video interviews with the manager and a key player from the game.
Sunday will bring goal highlights on our YouTube channel with extended highlights going live on Shakers Player HD at approximately 3pm. We’ll also have the key comments, in text format, from the manager.
Programme: The new-look match day programme will be on sale in and around the ground from around 1pm on Saturday so make sure you grab your copy.
Tickets: Category C Prices apply for this game – Click here for all ticket prices
Cash turnstiles will be open from around 1:45pm and you do not need to buy a ticket before entering the ground. Away supporters, paying on the day, can pay directly at the turnstiles using cash only.
Previous meetings: Saturday’s game will be the 53rd meeting between the two clubs since we first played Walsall during the 1960-61 season. Since then, Bury have won 21 games, with Walsall victorious on 18 occasions. The remaining 13 games have finished all square. As for goals, Bury have scored 78 goals against Walsall’s 75.
As for games at Gigg Lane, this will be the 26th. Bury have previously won eleven games, with Walsall winning seven with seven games ending as draws. Walsall have scored 31 goals at Bury, whilst the Shakers have put 41 goals beyond various Saddlers ‘keepers.
Last time we met: Saturday, 27th August 2016 – Walsall 3 Bury 3
Bury produced an amazing comeback from three goals down at half-time to earn a point in a thriller at Walsall.
Walsall led on six minutes as Erhun Oztumer and Andreas Makris combined to tee up Kieron Morris to drill home from 10 yards.
The Saddlers doubled their lead after 14 minutes as Oztumer pounced on an error from Shakers defender Leon Barnett to fizz a 25-yarder into the bottom corner.
It was 3-0 on 32 minutes as Simeon Jackson stole in at the near post to poke Makris' cross past Ben Williams from close range.
Walsall could have been out of sight by the break but Williams twice foiled Jackson one-on-one - and Bury were back in it with two goals in the first five minutes of the second half.
Barnett drilled home a 47th-minute corner from 10 yards and then nodded down a high ball for new signing James Vaughan to make it 3-2 from similar range two minutes later.
Danny Mayor lashed home Bury's leveller from 15 yards on 66 minutes - and the Shakers could have won it two minutes later but Vaughan's half-volley flashed inches over.
And, finally… at the request of the Chairman, Directors, Management and, especially, the Players… Please get behind the lads, make plenty of noise – BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BE BURY!