James Clarke: Walsall ‘are tough enough’

Skipper James Clarke believes Walsall are showing signs they have the mental toughness needed to be successful in League Two.

James Clarke
James Clarke

The Saddlers host Forest Green Rovers on Saturday looking to start the campaign with back-to-back wins following their opening day victory at Northampton.

Clarke played on the right side of a back three at Sixfields with Mat Sadler on the left.

It meant the experienced pair could easily communicate with wing-backs Cameron Pring and Cameron Norman – who have just 33 Football League appearances between them.

And Clarke, who scored the winning goal, believes the whole team deserves credit for the way they defended while the Cobblers were pressing for an equaliser.

"It's very early days but I think we showed at Northampton we aren’t a team that will buckle under pressure," he said.

"That's a big thing. We were put under pressure but we saw it out – that shows strength. We didn't cave in.

"I'm right-footed and Sads is left footed so it's natural we are on that side of the pitch.

"But it does allow us to talk to the wing-backs. You want your experienced lad in the middle with two younger lads either side or the other way around – your two experience lads on the outside.

"For us it's the way things have fallen into place. But it's a nice blend to have."

Clarke believes Walsall showed their experience in the win at Sixfields.

But he was also impressed with Liam Roberts, Josh Gordon, Elijah Adebayo and Pring – who are all 24-years-old or younger.

"It was a streetwise performance at Northampton – it’s having a bit nous and knowing when to kill the game," he continued.

"We got the first goal and slowed things down.

"But we showed we have got a good blend of younger lads and senior lads. They compliment each other.

"I thought Pringy was excellent. I think Robbo was outstanding. It’s nice to have someone who controls their box. He comes for a lot and he catches a lot.

"And the two up front worked their socks off, if they keep working like that and bullying defenders, they will have a great chance

"You have to give the lads credit but we can’t get too ahead of ourselves. It was only one game."

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