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Pre Match: Brian Dutton previews Carlisle trip

7 May 2021

Walsall Head Coach Brian Dutton says his team need to be mentally prepared for tomorrow’s trip to Carlisle United.

The Saddlers will be aiming to end the 2020/21 campaign on a positive note up in Cumbria.

Dutton is expecting a similar kind of test from Carlisle to the one from the game earlier in the season and insists his players will need to be well prepared given the long trip ahead.

“It may well impact it that it is a long trip,” Dutton said.

“It’s going to be three and a half or four hours up there so the lads need to get their head around that.

“They need to be professional; they need to be mentally prepared and get that grogginess out of their system and start the game quickly out of the traps.

“If they’re left on the bus, it will be a difficult afternoon for us so we’ve got to factor in that the long trip may play a part so we’ve got to be mentally strong and prepare for that.

“Carlisle is a tough fixture at the best of times, they’ve been in and around the play-offs and top three all season and they’ve been there on merit. We need to make sure that we’re mentally focused and we want to end the season on a real positive.

“They’re identity is a team that creates opportunities, whether that being direct or playing through the thirds, they create opportunities and they score goals.

“They’ve been really effective. Will it be similar to what we played against them in the middle of the season? I think it will. They’ve kept similar players, the manager’s still there so it will be a tough test. They’re an effective team and a very good team.”

Dutton has been able to call upon Mat Sadler in the technical area in recent games with Dan Scarr and James Clarke partnering each other at centre-half.

The Saddlers boss has been pleased with the impact the skipper has made since returning from injury in March.

“It’s been massive, defensively he’s a major part of Walsall Football Club and performing well,” Dutton commented.

“We’ve got the most inexperienced EFL team in the league, the lowest amount of career starts.

“Between James Clarke and Mat Sadler, I think they make up nearly half of our EFL starts between the pair of them.

“To have someone like our captain James marshalling that back four is massive for us. It’s been nice to have Sads as an assistant in the last couple of games. Without Sads on the pitch, we need experience and James Clarke provides that and it’s been a real positive since Crawley and I think the defensive aspects of our game have improved markedly since he’s come back into the team.”


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