Darrell Clarke: The Central League is a Crucial Part of Player Development

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken to club journalists and discussed the importance of the Saddlers re-entering the Central League, insisting that his decision will have benefits for everyone associated with the club.
Clarke, who is celebrating one month as Saddlers manager, opted to go back into the Central League after a one-year absence, revealing that his aim to get some of the clubs scholars playing development level football by the end of the year.

The Saddlers sat out last season's Central League as former manager Dean Keates decided to concentrate on the various Senior Cups along with a few behind closed doors friendlies, a decision which resulted in a difficult campaign for many of the club's brightest prospects as their season failed to get off the ground.

Mansfield-born Clarke, who recently penned a three-year deal at Banks's Stadium, is keen to kick-start the club's academy and begin to produce players capable of performing for the first-team if and when they're called upon.

Speaking via the club's official website, Darrell said; "You need to get minutes into the boys that aren’t playing as much football. I think you can’t afford to be playing catch up when the league games come round so the match fitness is a very important thing.

"Also, we want to get to the stage this season where we are starting to produce our own players as well and certainly getting some of the scholars playing in the reserve games and mixing in with the first team boys because it is important.

"Match fitness is also key, anybody in the game will tell you that, and I am no different. It will be good for us to have the option of a reserve fixture, but we don’t want to over-cook the games because we won’t have a massive squad.

"We want to make sure there are enough games there so people are getting plenty of minutes when they need them the most."
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