Darrell Clarke: "We'll Give Darlington the Respect They Deserve"

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken ahead of this weekend's Emirates FA Cup - First Round clash between the Saddlers and Darlington and has insisted he and his team are fully focused on the job at hand.
The Saddlers arrive at their cup clash on the back of last weekend's defeat to Swindon Town - a result which saw the Reds stretch their run of losses to six successive games - and will take on the National League North outfit hoping to avoid a potential banana skin with the pressure already at an all-time high.

Mansfield-born Clarke, who is expected to offer starting roles to several of his fringe players as he continues to search for a winning formula, wants his squad to respect their non-league opponents as they look to secure a place in Monday's Second Round draw.

Speaking via the club's official website, Darrell said; "We’ll give Darlington the respect that they deserve. Darlington are on a good run and they’ll raise their game by 10-15% so if we come off it ten-to-fifteen per cent then we’ll come unstuck.

"If we play anywhere like the performance against Swindon I think we’ll win the game. It doesn’t change though; there are two goals, eleven men vs eleven men so it’s a game of football so we’ve got make sure we’re not on the end of a cup upset which I’ve experienced before so it’s about doing our jobs right and focusing on ourselves.

"It’s going to be edgy and a bit nervous I imagine, certainly with the fans not being happy we’ve got to try and put on a performance and try and get to the next round."

Clarke, who has been hindered by an ever-growing injury list over recent weeks, is adamant that he knows exactly where the Saddlers need to improve as they look to bring their losing streak to an end.

The gaffer went on to insist that his team's performance against Swindon, which saw on-loan Salford City striker Rory Gaffney score his first goal in a Walsall shirt, merited a better result as his players continue to work hard in a bid to return to winning ways.

Darrell added; "The players are covering the distance, they’re making their sprinting games and winning a lot of first contacts in games so there is no problem with the effort, desire and commitment of the players that we analyse on a regular basis but the fact of the matter is we’ve got to get better in both boxes.

"In the last six games, we’ve conceded a ridiculous amount of individual errors, blatant errors in my opinion, which you have to cut out. Any manager will tell you exactly the same that if you’re doing that, then your back is against the wall.

"In the final third we have to be clinical and take more of our opportunities but you can’t put your head in the sand, we have to keep working hard."
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