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Clarke: "We will have to bring our A-game"

18 September 2020

Walsall boss Darrell Clarke believes the gap between the National League and League Two is narrowing and insists his team will have to bring their A-game when they take on newly promoted Harrogate Town on Saturday.

The Saddlers will be looking to build on their positive start to the new season when they travel to the Keepmoat Stadium in their first away league trip of the campaign.

Clarke is expecting a difficult game against a Harrogate side who made a flying start to life in the EFL with a 4-0 victory away at Southend United and insist his side will not underestimate their newly-promoted opponents given the quality of teams now coming up from the National League and their solid start to the season.

“I must say having managed League One, League Two and National League over quite a few games now, there really is not a lot of difference between the bottom half of League One, League Two to the top half of National League, it’s very fine lines,” Clarke explained.

“Budgets can be very equal now in all those three divisions in those sections of it so we’ve got to make sure we treat Harrogate with the respect they deserve.

“Teams are renowned for getting promoted and holding still their own in League Two so we certainly won’t be going there thinking because we’ve got a better history than Harrogate and won’t be going there underestimating them.

 “They’ve got a great manager who has done very well there. The club is owned by his dad so it’s a tight nit group and we’re going to have to bring our A-game to try and get the three points.”

The Saddlers have also made a good start to the new season with two cup draws and a victory over Grimsby Town in the League.

Clarke is still looking for his team to be more clinical and build up a consistency as he looks to continue the club’s fine start to 2020-21.

“That’s what you’re looking for, that consistency,” Clarke said.

 “It was three different performances but three decent performances and all different style of games. The three points against Grimsby, I thought we earned them albeit we could have been a bit more clinical in key areas.

“I was really pleased to start with a win but we have to put all that to one side now because we’ve got a tough game with Harrogate. I’ve watched a fair bit of them, they’re on a high, they’ve got good momentum, a squad that has been together for a couple of years and had good success so it’s going to be a good challenge.”

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