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Big week for the Saddlers says boss Clarke

15 August 2019

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke revealed he has room for manoeuvre in the transfer market ahead of what he described as a big week for his team.

The Saddlers travel to Crewe Alexandra on Saturday before hosting Newport County on Tuesday and visit Plymouth Argyle next weekend.

Clarke has had a big summer rebuilding the Saddlers squad and will continue to assess his team over the next three games.

Walsall have made a positive start in the league but Clarke feels he’ll know more about his team over the next few weeks and admitted the next seven days are important.

“The proof will be in the pudding after 10-12 games,” said Clarke.

 “We’ve got a big week coming up with two away games and a midweek game and then we’ve got a week before the window shuts.

“I’ll be assessing the next three games.

“I know I need another centre forward but I’ll also be assessing if I need one or two others.

“I’ve got room for manoeuvre as the squad has been built on a reasonable budget so I’ve got a bit to play with which is good news if and when we need reinforcements, maybe a couple in this window and January as well.

“It’s not going to be a quick fix, there’s going to be bumps in the road but as long as we keep learning from them bumps and get that mentality into the football club and I think we’re slowly getting there then I think we’ll kick on.

The Saddlers bowed out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night with a slender 3-2 defeat at home to Crawley Town.

 There were a handful of players who impressed, particularly the players who came on from the bench, despite the defeat but Clarke is keen for his players to be more effective in the earlier stages of matches.

“The players that came on made an impact yet again,” he said.

“I don’t want to get into the habit of doing that, I think we should be locking in and creating more opportunities in the first half.

“I think we had six or seven corners before they got near out goal. We’ve got players to start a game and make an impact and players that can come off the bench to make an impact.”

The Saddlers will be hoping to bounce back from their cup exit at Crewe this weekend.

Clarke wants to see his team build momentum and go on a run but he is expecting a difficult task against a Crewe side who have the ability to mix up their approach.

“I’m expecting another tough League Two encounter,” Clarke commented.

“They’re possession based but they can mix it up with Chris Porter at the top end of the pitch.

“They’ve got good players that run off him so they’ll cause us problems but I’m sure they’ve watched the videos of us and will say that Walsall can cause us problems as well.

“If you’re going to get into the top areas of this league you’ve got to get unbeaten runs together through some course of the period.

“I think realistically there’s 16/17 teams that can get in the top seven this year. It’s a very competitive league but I think we’re amongst one of those teams.”

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