Clarke 'Not Losing Any Sleep' Over the Prospect of Walsall Axe

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken ahead of this weekend's Emirates FA Cup - Second Round clash between the Saddlers and Oxford United, and insisted he doesn't fear the sack, despite Walsall's current league position.
The Saddlers had recently suffered six straight league defeats and were beginning to edge ever closer to the League Two relegation zone, however, after gaining the backing of the board, fortunes have improved, easing some of the mounting pressure.

Clarke's Walsall are now unbeaten in five, with victories in the league, EFL Trophy, and FA Cup, and could secure a welcome spot in the Third Round of the world's oldest club football competition if they are able to overcome Oxford United on Saturday afternoon.

The manager has been under plenty of pressure over recent weeks but insists he is in it for the long haul and doesn't expect the team to be able to mount a challenge on the upper echelons of the League Two table for quite a while yet.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Darrell said; "I don't lose any sleep, I really don't. I don't get bogged down with all that rubbish. If a club don't want you, they get rid of you, I won't cry about it. I have good, open lines of communication with my board - a fantastic relationship.

"They know where we are as a football club, so I don't cry myself to sleep at night. Although I can't afford to lose my job, I have a family to support, I'm not a millionaire. I'm a council estate kid so everything I've earned myself.

"I don't go home crying about losing my job, only how I can make the club better."

And after recently being given time by his board, Mansfield-born Clarke went on to discuss what fans can expect to see before the team, which suffered relegation for League One at the end of last season, mounts a challenge on the Play-Off and promotion places.

Clarke continued; "I have my pro licence and they're quite funny the courses you do because everything revolves around time. But you don't get time as a manager do you, in a lot of cases.

"They're quite funny in that aspect. I think all managers need time, especially with the turnaround of this football club. We have a lot of work to do, that's for sure. I'm not mentioning play-offs or anything.

"I'll say what I said in September, we're miles away from being a top seven team in my opinion. We need a couple of windows to get where the squad needs to be. When you're managing Walsall sometimes it's the underbelly that you need to strengthen.

"The underbelly at Walsall is the development players. We have a lot of development players and when you have key players that miss massive chunks of the season, the underbelly is a little bit inexperienced.

"That can create a learning environment for some of these players to get through the bad runs."
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