Manager's Walsall warning
“We have a new group and there are still things to work on, but we are moving in the right direction and will compete in every game.”
“It will be a massive test for us, though there were a lot of good things about the performance against Derby, even though we lost.
“They are a good side and I don’t believe there will be many sides which will finish ahead of them. And if you do, I am sure teams won't be far away from winning promotion.
“They lost two or three really good players, but Dean has replaced them like for like so well done to their recruitment team.
“Sometimes people look at the finances and think they will not be very good, but they are well drilled, fit and energetic side which plays good football and it will be good to see how we do against them.
Johnson said: “Walsall had a really good season with the budget they had, and have started this one well.
Walsall have continued where they left off in 2012/13 beating Tranmere in their opening league match and winning at Port Vale in midweek in the Capital One Cup.
Smith has brought in on-loan Chelsea striker Milan Lalkovic, a Slovakia under-21 international, along with former Wolves winger Ashley Hemmings , ex-QPR striker Troy Hewitt and Doncaster midfield man James Baxendale.
And despite losing Will Grigg, Febian Brandy and Jamie Paterson, last season’s three top scorers, Smith has managed to replace them.
Walsall finished ninth last season and narrowly missed out on a promotion place having earlier been written off as candidates for relegation.
Latics' manager is full of admiration for the work Dean Smith has done with the Saddlers who have achieved success on a shoestring.
Lee Johnson believes Saturday’s Sky Bet League 1 visitors Walsall will provide a stern examination for his Latics’ team.
, 2013: Walsall 3, Latics 1nd
Saturday, February 2
, 2012: Latics 1, Walsall 1. st Tuesday, August 21
Capital One Cup, First Round
Tuesday, August 6th: Port Vale 1, Walsall 2
Tuesday, August 6th: Latics 0, Derby County 1
Striker Craig Westcarr, the former England under-21 international, scored twice on his debut for the Saddlers in a 3-1 victory against Tranmere. MAN TO WATCH
Latics have doubts about Jonson Clarke-Harris and Kirk Millar who picked up knocks in midfield. Andy Taylor has missed Walsall’s last two matches through an ankle injury.
Walsall pair Dean Holden and Sam Mantom have both had spells with Latics.
George Hill Main Stand Upper: Adults £20, concessions £10
George Hill Main Stand Lower: Adults £19, concessions £9
Ambulant disabled and wheelchair users are £20 with free carer.
Chaddy End: Adults £20, concessions £10, under-12's £5.
The Verlin Stand (large section): Adults £20, concessions £10, under-12's £5.