Walsall have brought swagger in abundance – James Clarke

Walsall captain James Clarke insists the ‘swagger’ among his team-mates is key to their unbeaten start to the campaign.

James Clarke
James Clarke

The Saddlers have yet to lose a League Two game this season, drawing five and winning two. The unbeaten run stretches to 12 games, including the last five of last season, meaning Walsall have the longest run in the top four tiers of English football.

For Clarke, he believes that is a reward of the maturity and confidence growing within the squad. “Last year we had quite a few younger players and I think they’ve all matured and they’ve learnt,” he said.

“It was a bit of a tough season last year and we’ve had to learn the hard way and dig ourselves out the hole we put ourselves in. The boys have matured and that’s showing.

“If you want to compete in the league you need that confidence, that swagger that the gaffer talks about. We have that in abundance.

“It’s going to be a squashed league this year with so many games coming up but we haven’t just got a mature and good XI, we have a good 20 and that’s the key to doing well this season.

“I feel like we’ve all matured and we know our roles more. A few of the lads being younger now realise it’s a man’s game and they’ve raised to the task.”

Meanwhile, Clarke was disappointed that the Saddlers did not see out a win over Bradford on Tuesday night after throwing away a 1-0 lead to draw 1-1.

“It’s a tough side in Bradford – it’s always going to be hard to take a point here,” he added. “It should really be all three but they’re a very good team and a lot of work went into that, a lot of defensive work throughout the whole team. It’s good to come away with a point. It was a great defensive shift but the first half and second half was totally different. We’ve come here, they’re obviously a very good side and will be up there this year, and in the first half we edged it.

“In the second half they got to grips with the game, which is going to happen when they’re 1-0 down at home. We just have to see it out better.”

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