Clarke Offers Praise For Walsall's Young Guns Clarke Offers Praise For Walsall's Young Guns
Posted by: Bescot Banter

Clarke Offers Praise For Walsall's Young Guns

Darrell Clarke was pleased with his team as they continued their pre-season preparations with a trip to New Bucks Head.
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken to club journalists and praised his team for their performance during Friday's pre-season victory over Shrewsbury Town.

Clarke, who saw his side defeated by Crewe Alexandra and held to a draw by Wolves' Under-23s before taking on the Shrews, has handed several of the club's youngsters match minutes and stressed the importance of integrating them into the squad before the new season gets underway.

Central defender Tom Leak, recent academy graduates Joe Willis and Sam Perry and scholars Joe Foulkes and Jayden Campbell have all played a part in the Saddlers' pre-season campaign with Campbell playing a major role in Liam Kinsella's match-winning goal against the blue and amber Shrews.

The manager had already called upon the club's kids to make the most of their opportunities with the Mansfield-born boss restating his desire for the group to add to his selection issues heading into the new campaign.

Speaking via the club's official website, Darrell said; "That’s what these pre-season games are about.

"Testament to the young boys as well, we made a lot of changes at sixty minutes and a couple at forty-five, so I think it’s vitally important that young lads are going to have a focus about the group and need to be about the group with the load of games we’re going to have in a nine-month period and if we’re successful in the cups, which we want to be, there will be even more games so getting the likes of Foulkesy, Campbell, Perry, Leaky getting minutes with the first team boys is vital.

"That’s why I have had them for the whole of pre-season plan, they’ve got plenty of minutes as part of the group because we’re going to need a squad.

"We’re not going to have the biggest squad, so we’ve got to manage minutes and manage bodies and get one or two young boys ready to take an opportunity if and when they get it."

The triumph over Sam Ricketts' Shrews gave Clarke plenty of reasons to be cheerful with the manager believing that, although they need to be more clinical in front of goal, his side played some 'decent' football.

Clarke continued; "I was really pleased. For sixty minutes I thought we played some decent stuff, albeit not being clinical enough in the final third.

"Opportunities were created, we got ourselves in dangerous positions and looking after the transition of the ball so there were a lot of pleasing aspects of it.

"We’re ticking along and by the looks of it, there were no injuries in the game so that’s always a massive positive as well."

The Saddlers will now be looking ahead to next week's behind closed doors clash with Burton Albion a match which will give the Saddlers' youngsters another opportunity to impress as places in the matchday squad remain up for grabs.
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