Contract talks on the agenda for Walsall boss Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke will hold meetings with Walsall’s out-of-contract players this week as he begins work on a major overhaul at the Banks’s Stadium.
The 41-year-old, who was officially unveiled as the club’s new manager yesterday, has inherited a squad where 19 players are out of contract next month.
Clarke is no stranger to a major overhaul having previously rebuilt Bristol Rovers and Salisbury City.
And he sees both positives and negatives to joining a club where so many players see their deals expire next month.
“I will be holding meetings (with out-of-contract players) in the next few days,” Clarke said. “There is a lot of work to be done.
“This is a club that hasn’t got many contracted players and is a club that has just been relegated. So I think the fresh impetus that comes with building a new squad is probably a good thing.
“It’s good that we have got a clean slate.
“I cleared a lot of the dead wood out of (Bristol) Rovers when we got relegated.
“You are pleased with that aspect of it.
“But then you have the pressure of players you do sign, making sure they come in and hit the ground running.
“The preparation in pre-season is going to be very important.
“We have got to do a hell of a lot of work on the training ground over the coming months.
“We’re going to have to work very hard with the new players and the players who are still at the club so we can get a winning style of play and be ready for August.”
After guiding Bristol Rovers to back-to-back promotions from the National League into League One, Clarke turned down a number of job offers after leaving the Memorial Stadium.
But he revealed he accepted the Walsall job because he got a good feeling about the club.
“I declined a few jobs,” the boss continued. “But to honest with you, I got a good feeling about the place and the people who work here.
“If you look through my career, I don’t go chasing money and what not.
“I just like the feel of it. Everybody I have met is very passionate about the club.
“Now we have got to get the passion back for the supporters by winning football matches and being a success on the pitch.
“We need the supporters on side. They are not onside at the minute and I understand that. Any club you go to that has been relegated, they are not onside.
“We need them back on side and we need to give them something to cheer about on the pitch.
“We have got to lift them and the only want to lift them is by doing it on the pitch.”