Preview: Walsall v Doncaster Rovers

James O'Connor could face his former club in today's match at Walsall. Photo: Steve Uttley
James O'Connor could face his former club in today's match at Walsall. Photo: Steve Uttley

Saturday’s opponents could boast a trio of familiar faces for the Rovers faithful.

For ex-Doncaster players James Chambers, James O’Connor and James Baxendale are all currently on the Walsall books.

The former Rovers trio collectively made nearly 300 appearances for the Doncaster club before moving away from South Yorkshire.

Chambers was a free transfer swoop from Leicester City back in 2008 and was a regular in the Rovers backline.

Fellow defender O’Connor featured over 200 times for Doncaster before penning a deal with Derby County two years ago. He moved to Walsall on a free this year following a brief loan spell with Bristol City.

Thorne-born Baxendale, a former product of the Leeds United youth system, moved from his hometown club to join the Saddlers in 2012 after a loan move to Hereford.

O’Connor and Baxendale featured for Walsall in their 0-0 draw with Gillingham on Saturday.

Admittedly, Dean Smith’s side have not had the best starts to League One this season - claiming just one win in nine games and eight points on the board.

Their last triumph came on September 13, a 3-1 victory over Preston NE - a side Doncaster shared the spoils with last month.

In terms of head-to-head meetings, Walsall shade proceedings by 26 victories to 21, with nine draws.

However, a better omen for Doncaster ahead of this weekend’s domestic clash is that the last season these two clubs met - during the 2012-13 term - the side playing away won on each occasion.

In particular Doncaster’s 3-0 victory in 2012 saw Kyle Bennett among the scorers.

Overall, there’s little to choose from with each winning four of the last ten meetings.

The Saddlers will be buoyed by the news that 22-year-old top scorer Tom Bradshaw - who has netted four out of Walsall’s six goals so far this season - will return to the fold this weekend after missing the last two matches with a hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, attacking midfielder Harry Forrester returned from suspension to feature in Doncaster’s 2-1 defeat at Fulham in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night.

Rovers will be looking to stretch their unbeaten league run to three games and record their fourth win on the road.