Walsall preview

Friday 15 February 2002

MOST SIGNIFICANT STATS

Having knocked out Premier League Charlton in Colin Lee's first match in charge, First Division Walsall now attempt new ground by reaching the FA Cup Quarter-finals for the first time, at the expense of top flight outfit Fulham.

This will be the first Fifth Round tie to kick off (12 noon on Saturday). It is the third time these two have been drawn together in the competition. They stand at one win a piece, with both victories achieved away from home - Fulham's after a replay.

Walsall may have won three of their last seven League and Cup games, but they sit in the First Division's relegation zone. Fulham are mid table in the top division, and have lost just one of their last nine in all competitions.

When Fulham reached the final for the only time in 1974/75 - it was the last time they won a Fifth Round game.

When Walsall last reached Round Five in 1986/87 they lost to Watford after a 1-1 draw at home then a replay ending 4-4, they lost 1-0.

The last time these two teams met in the F.A. Cup was in the fourth round in 1962. The match finished 2-2, but Fulham won the replay 2-0 at Walsall's old Fellows Park ground. Fulham went on to reach the semi-finals that year where they met Burnley, eventually losing 2-1 in another replay after drawing the first match 1-1.

Against Fulham, Walsall will be relying on the F.A. Cup experience of target man Brett Angell, who has scored 9 goals in 14 F.A. Cup appearances in a career spanning 16 years.

Fulham keeper Edwin Van Der Sar is no stranger to big cup games. He won the Uefa Cup with Ajax in 1992, as well as the Champions League in 1995. He was also in goal for the Dutch giants during their 1996 domestic treble winning season.

Fulham last played in the fifth round three years ago when they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford. Much has changed since then but current first-teamers Steve Finnan, Rufus Brevett and Barry Hayles all played for second division Fulham that day, while reserve keeper Maik Taylor also started.

Previous Meetings - All Competitions Played 31 Walsall wins 4 Fulham wins 14 Draws 13

WALSALL

Current League position 22nd D1

Sequences

GONE 6 SINCE A CLEAN SHEET

Recent Form

Won 3 of last 7 League and Cup matches

Drawn 1 of last 7 in all competitions

Lost 3 of last 6

Failed to score in 2 of last 8 encounters

1 clean sheet in last 11

BEST FA CUP PERFORMANCE - FIFTH ROUND (4 times) and last 16 in 1889

THIS SEASON'S CUP RUN

Third Round 8 Jan 2002 Walsall 2-0 Bradford C, Walsall scorers: Bennett 47, Angell 56, Att: 4,509 - Ref: Tony Bates

MATCH NOTES: Two goals in ten second half minutes avenge Walsall's League defeat. Tom Bennett capitalises on a bad clearance from Bradford keeper Carl Muggleton for the first, and Brett Angell nets the second with a diving header.

Fourth Round - 26 Jan 2002 Charlton A 1-2 Walsall, Charlton scorer: Stuart 69, Walsall scorers: Leitao 5, 59, Att: 18,573 - Ref: Graham Barber

MATCH NOTES: Colin Lee's first match in charge of Walsall and the Division One club's first away win in three months. Two goals from Jorge Leitao do the damage. The first is a great solo effort ending in a clip over keeper Dean Kiely and the second a cool finish from a pass by Darren Byfield. Graham Stuart, who earlier missed a spot kick, finds his way through a crowded penalty area for Charlton's goal. Kevin Lisbie misses a sitter to equalise.

ADDITIONAL SADLERS NOTES

Walsall were responsible for one of the biggest FA Cup shocks ever. On 14 January 1933, they played a third round match at home to Arsenal. Walsall were then in the middle of the table in Division 3 (North) and had not won for a month while Arsenal went on to become league champions that season.

Arsenal fielded five internationals but went 1-0 down after an hour with a goal from Gilbert Alsop. After 65 minutes, Bill Sheppard scored their second from a penalty. The final score was Walsall 2 Arsenal 0. Two weeks later, they were eliminated by Manchester City in the fourth round - the score was 4-0.

FULHAM

Current League position 9th PREM

Sequences

NOT CONCEDED IN 2 [260 mins / 4 hrs 20 mins]

Recent Form

Won 4 of last 7 League and cup games

Drawn 3 of last 8 in all competitions

Lost 1 of last 9

Failed to score in 2 of the last 3

Potential Career Milestones

Barry HAYLES needs a hat trick to record 50 goals for Fulham

BEST FA CUP PERFORMANCE - RUNNERS-UP (once) 03/05/1975 Fulham 0-2 West Ham United

THIS SEASON'S CUP RUN

Third Round - 5 Jan 2002 Wycombe W 2-2 Fulham, Wycombe scorers: Brown 57, McSporran 66
Fulham scorers: Legwinski 47, Marlet 88, Att: 9,921 - Ref: Graham Barber

MATCH NOTES

Laurie Sanchez is disappointed his Wycombe side couldn't hold out for victory. All the scoring is in the second half. Sylvain Legwinski puts Fulham ahead at the second opportunity. Steve Brown equalises from the spot after Goma brings down McSporran. The Wycombe catalyst, McSporran, shoots on the turn to put the 2nd Division side ahead, but Wanderers keeper Martin Taylor fails to keep out Steve Marlet in the last three minutes.

Third Round Replay - 15 Jan 2002 Fulham 1-0 Wycombe W, Fulham scorer: Hayles 68, Sent Off: Cousins (Wycombe) 75, Att: 11,894 - Ref: Graham Barber

MATCH NOTES

No giant killing for Wycombe this year. Barry Hayles scores a skilful winner, Louis Saha suffers a broken nose and the Choirboys have Jason Cousins sent off.

Fourth Round - 26 Jan 2002 York City 0-2 Fulham, Fulham scorers: Malbranque 26, Marlet 85
Att: 7,563 - Ref: Jeff Winter

MATCH NOTES

Owner Mohamed Al Fayed donates Fulham's share of the gate (estimated at £30,000) to the York City Supporters' Trust. But the generosity ended there as Louis Saha released Steed Malbranque for the first on 26 minutes. Steve Marlet puts the tie beyond the crisis ridden Third Division side, with the second with five minutes remaining.

ADDITIONAL COTTAGERS NOTES

Fulham have reached the Fifth Round for the third time in four seasons. They were eliminated at this stage in 1998/1999 and 1999/2000. The last time they went past the 5th round was in 1974/1975 when they went all the way to the final, eventually losing 2-0 to West Ham United. That was their best ever season in the competition.

If Fulham progress to the last eight, it will be the 10th time that they have reached this stage.

The others are the aforementioned 1974/1975, 1961/1962 when they lost a semi-final replay 2-1 to Burnley, 1957/1958 which resulted in another semi-final replay defeat, 5-3 against Manchester United. They went out in the sixth round against Blackpool in 1947/1948 and 1950/1951.

They also reached the last eight in 1935/1936 (eventually losing the semi-final 2-1 to Sheffield United), 1925/1926 (losing 2-1 to Manchester United), and 1907/1908 when they suffered a 6-0 semi-final defeat against Newcastle United. This defeat is a record defeat for an FA Cup semi-final.

Fulham are one of the 23 teams from outside the top division to reach the final.

MAN IN THE MIDDLE - STEVE DUNN, Bristol, Avon

MATCH LIVE ON SKY TV 12 Noon Saturday...