League One preview: Ricoh can reinvigorate Saddlers

Betting advice from Michael Holden of Best of the Bets

What started out as such a promising season for Walsall has steadily turned sour but an exciting local derby at an inspiring new venue might be just the ticket to get them firing again. Take some of the 10/3 about the Saddlers beating Coventry at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

Dean Smith's men are now winless in 14, a statistic that ought to surprise anyone who witnessed their free-spirited football in the opening two months of the campaign, but standards have improved of late - particularly on the road - enough to suggest that a moment of maximum reward could be on the way.

If Walsall can match their efforts in recent draws at in-form Bury, sharp-shooting Crawley and high-flying Tranmere, then there's adequate reason to believe that Coventry will be a little more forthcoming when it comes to handing over the points.

The Sky Blues have improved under new boss Mark Robins but most of their progress has been on the road and they remain unreliable at the Ricoh with only two wins in ten attempts, seven of which have been under the tuition of the former Rotherham and Barnsley boss, only one of them with a clean sheet.

As if a plush 32,000-seater venue fit for the Premier League doesn't present Coventry with enough problems from a psychological persepctive at this level, reports of a potential winding-up order made the news this week as stadium operators ACL issued a £1.1m rent demand.

The club is nearly a year in arrears after expressing its wish to renegotiate terms of the agreement and while the story might be little more than a storm in a teacup at this stage, it can only serve to undermine the work Robins is doing to create an ambience of long-term stability.

The Sky Blues do at least have a money-spinning FA Cup third round tie with Tottenham at White Hart Lane to look forward to, while they also find themselves two steps away from Wembley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy after beating Sheffield United on penalties in midweek, but those wider positives could be viewed as negatives in terms of appetite for this game.

It's a much bigger occasion for Walsall and they are bound to be backed by a sizeable following as they make the 27-mile trip down the M6. With their involvement in the knockout competitions curtailed, this could be a pivotal moment in their season - the catalyst that pushes them into rediscovering the excellent standards from August and September.

Betting advice...

1pt Walsall to beat Coventry at 10/3 (Bet365)

Saddlers can be rediscover early standards, inspired by their first ever visit to the Ricoh.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness