Tonight Chesterfield visit a Walsall side enjoying home comfort in 2017.
The Saddlers appear to have found their perfect shape in Jon Whitney’s 3-5-2.
And with a Turkish midfield ‘wizard’ and a giant centre-half catching the eye, Walsall have overcome a difficult start to the season to sit comfortably in midtable.
Joseph Masi covers Walsall for the Express and Star and says a big victory over the title-chasing Blades appears to have been a turning point at the Bescot Stadium.
“They’ve been brilliant at home, they’re going for a fifth straight home win and they haven’t done that since 2013,” he said.
“It all turned at the start of the year when they played Sheffield United at home.
“They switched to 3-5-2 and thumped Sheffield United 4-1 and were sensational and have kept it going since then.”
Since that win over Sheffield United, they’ve vanquished Bristol Rovers, Northampton and Peterborough United at home.
That’s not particularly good news for a Spireites side who have won just once on the road in League One this season.
And while Gary Caldwell tries to find the best formation for Chesterfield, tonight’s hosts have settled on one to great effect.
“In the first half of the season they were trying to find a system that suited and played a little bit of everything,” said Masi.
“But they’ve settled on this shape now and have gone really well ever since.
“Erhun Oztumer is the key man, operating in the number 10 role. He’s got 13 goals already this season.
“The Peterborough fans called him the Turkish Messi, Walsall fans call him the Wizard of Oz.
“He’s only 5ft 3ins but has so much ability on the ball, he’s been such a good player.”
Whitney is a big fan of continuity and has kept the Walsall team as unchanged as possible in recent weeks, only an injury to Florent Cuvelier preventing him from naming the same side for seven consecutive games.
Kieron Morris came into the midfield to plug that gap, but the rest of the side has remained the same and is likely to be the same again tonight.
Along with Oztumer, Town will have to contend with a player who recently occupied the role Caldwell made his own in Glasgow.
“They signed Eoghan O’Connell from Celtic on loan in January,” said Masi.
“He played the first seven games of the season for Celtic.
“He’s a 6ft 5ins centre-back who is good on the ball, wins everything in the air and looks a real talent.”
The last time the two teams met, Chesterfield were 2-0 winners at the Proact.
They’ve split the points in their last six encounters, both teams enjoying three victories.