New season, New Team takes a look at the six new teams to join Sky Bet League Two for the 2019/20 season.
The next team that we profile is Walsall, who came down from Sky Bet League One at the end of last season.
Stadium: Bescot Stadium
Nickname: The Saddlers
Walsall’s early years saw them come into the Football League in the Third Division North. They won the Fourth Division title in the 1959/60 season and then promotion out of the Third Division the following year. The club continued to have both promotions and relegations throughout the decades, and they found themselves in League Two in 2006 before going straight back up to League One with automatic promotion.
The manager: Darrell Clarke
As a player, Darrell Clarke came through the youth ranks with Mansfield Town before going on to play more than 150 games for the club. Following six years in the first team, Darrell left to join Hartlepool United, where he played more than 100 times, and he had loan spells with the likes of Stockport County, Port Vale and Rochdale. He rounded off his playing days with non-league side Salisbury City before stepping up to take the manager role. He managed to guide the club to promotion from the Conference South through the play-offs with a win in the final over Dover Athletic. Success there then saw him picked up by Bristol Rovers as he supported John Ward before taking over the managerial reins in 2014. Clarke was unable to stave off relegation from the Football League in the 2013/14 season, but he managed to win promotion at the first time of asking from the Conference after they beat Grimsby Town on penalties in the play-off final at Wembley. He bettered that when he managed to gain a second successive promotion as he took the club to League One. He remained at the club until December 2018 when he departed his post. He was then appointed manager of Walsall ahead of the new season and will be looking to add another promotion to his CV.
The dangerman: Andy Cook
Top scorer from last season, Andy Cook’s 17 goals were unable to prevent relegation for the Saddlers. The striker came through the ranks with Carlisle United and he had loan spells with Workington and Barrow before joining the latter permanently in 2011. After a year there he opted to move to Grimsby Town for two seasons. He would return to Barrow for another spell where he would remain for two years before joining Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park. In two seasons with Tranmere he netted 51 times which caught the eye of the Saddlers and he netted his first goal for the club on his debut against Plymouth Argyle.
2018/19 season in review
Average attendance: 4,927
Top scorer: Andy Cook
Exeter City 4 Walsall 2: April 21, 2012
The Grecians ran out 4-2 winners the last time the sides met. Alex Nicholls put the away side ahead on 30 minutes before Daniel Nardiello levelled things five minutes after half-time. The Saddlers would soon be back in front though, as Florent Cuvelier netted on 55 minutes. Alan Gow made the score 2-2 on 69 minutes and the Grecians were able to build on that when Gow scored again 13 minutes from time to make the score 3-2. Liam Sercombe then made sure the points were safe as he netted in the 88th minute.
Walsall 3 Exeter City 2: November 23, 2011
A first round FA cup replay saw the Grecians travel to the midlands in an exciting affair. Richard Logan put City ahead a few minutes before half-time, but Walsall levelled through Jon Macken. Alex Nicholls would then put the home side ahead shortly after, but Elliot Frear scored in the 77th minute to level things. The game went to extra-time and the Grecians were beaten by a 98th minute finish from George Bowerman as Walsall progressed.
Exeter City 1 Walsall 1: November 12, 2011
In the original FA Cup tie the Grecians were held to a 1-1 draw by their counterparts. In fact, City went dangerously close to being out of it when Mark Wilson put the Saddlers ahead after 21 minutes. The Grecians managed to get the all-important equaliser in the 90th minute through David Noble to set up a replay.
Head to head
Exeter City wins: 26
Walsall wins: 39
Fixture release day is on Thursday, June 20, tune in from 9am to find out when City will face the Saddlers in the 2019/20 campaign.
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