15/01/2020

Darrell Clarke Looking to Add Experience to His Saddlers Squad

As he and his backroom team continue to consider their options in the January Transfer Window, Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has confirmed that he is unlikely to sign young players as he seeks to add experience to his squad.
Mansfield-born Clarke, who has seen his team return to form over recent weeks, had been seen in the stands watching both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa’s under-23s, but is now seeking EFL experience as he looks to build upon recent results.

After admitting that wingers are his priority this month, Clarke believes he has enough talented under-23s in his current squad and isn't keen to add too many loans to his squad as he can only name five in any given matchday squad.

The 42-year-old former Salisbury and Bristol Rovers gaffer, who, alongside chairman Leigh Pomlett, will be part of a Fans' Focus meeting on Thursday evening, went on to discuss how League Two differs from Under-23s football.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Darrell said; "Under 23 players are everywhere, loans are everywhere. I’ve already got four loans at the football club so I can only have one more loan.

"I don’t like six or seven loans because you can only have five on your team sheet. There’s thousands of those boys available. I go to a lot of U23’s games and they’re very similar, it’s very hard to place players.

"Managers will tell you in League One and League Two that they’re very hard to place into our environment. In an ideal world you like players that have been out on loan before and done well.

"The ones that come to you first of all, it’s a big wake up call. We produce a system through the academy with technically better players, without a shadow of a doubt, but we also produce mentally not strong enough players.

"What you have to bear in mind is that in U23’s football the transition of the football is a lot less than what it is in a League Two game. The transition in a League Two game is maybe three or four passes, max four or five.

"In an U23’s game they’ll have nine or ten passes. For me players have to be fitter when they come into League Two, they have to be more aware of their defensive duties.

"Everyone is keen on players on the eye but it’s a different ball game coming from U23’s football to first team football."

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