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Dutton looks ahead to Bolton test

19 March 2021

Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton has called on his players to stand up and be counted as they prepare to take on red-hot Bolton Wanderers.

The Saddlers will be looking to build on their away draw with Crawley when they head to the University of Bolton Stadium tomorrow.

The Trotters are currently sixth in Sky Bet League Two and are unbeaten in 11 but Dutton insists his team are prepared for a difficult match.

“Another tough task,” Dutton said.

“We’ve had to play these in-form teams. Bradford were red-hot when we played them, Exeter have been a top team in good form – you can reel them off in the fixtures I’ve been in charge in.

“Even Newport, you look at Newport and people will say they were in poor form but the game against us was the first game they had all their players back from suspension and their form has picked up.

“Bolton are probably the hottest team in the league, they’re in a really good moment in their season where they’re pinching wins when they probably don’t deserve to pinch wins but the majority of the wins they’ve earned, they’re playing a really attractive brand of football and they’re dominating games so we’re preparing ourselves for the toughest fixture we can have.

“The lads will have to stand up and be counted once again but I’ve got every confidence in the boys because they don’t lack the mentality, it’s the quality sometimes we’re lacking but not mentality

Captain James Clarke returned to action against Crawley which provided a real boost for the Saddlers.

Dutton feels a lot of his players can learn off Clarke and he is delighted to have him back in the fold.

“James Clarke gives so much to the team, not just his performance because he’s a good footballer who has proved himself at League One level,” Dutton commented.

“I had him at Bristol Rovers and he was probably player of the season at Bristol Rovers. He’s had some poor injuries which have hampered him but what James Clarke gives you is lots of experience, guile and a lesson in the dark arts to the younger players.

“The number of times he wins fouls when he’s under pressure or he makes good decisions, some of our boys can learn so much with him, even the forward lads.

“The number of fouls we give away in the final third and relieve pressure for the opposition teams is criminal at times. James Clarke is a master of that, the dark arts of the game. You need these experienced boys in and around it who are going to show you the way.”

Watch the Saddlers against Bolton live on iFollow by purchasing a match pass here.

 


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