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Opportunity for Darrell Clarke to find a winning formula with Walsall

Darrell Clarke will use tonight’s EFL Trophy clash against Coventry to run the rule over a number of players as he works to find a winning formula at Walsall.

Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke

The Saddlers take on Mark Robins’ side at St Andrew’s this evening in the competition now known as the Leasing.com Trophy.

Clarke has overseen a huge overall at the Banks’s over the past few months, with 23 players having left the club while 18 have arrived.

But that turnaround has led to the team making a slow start to the new campaign, with the opening-day win at Northampton their only victory in seven matches.

Despite that run, the manager still has a host of players in desperate need of match minutes.

Jake Rose, Shay Facey, Wes McDonald and Alfie Bates are yet to start a league game.

Danny Guthrie and Rory Holden are working their way back from injury.

While the likes of Zak Jules, Jack Kiersey and new recruit Rory Gaffney are all eager for a chance to impress.

And Clarke admits tonight’s clash with Coventry gives those players an ideal opportunity to stake a claim.

“There will be some changes,” the boss said.

“There are some players who haven’t made their debuts yet because I’m trying to settle it all down.

“It’s about getting the balance right and deciding when they are ready to come in and make a difference.

“It is very difficult as a manager to keep swinging different players in and swinging all the balls about.

“You have got to be careful how many changes you make when it’s a new, developing group.

“Football games are won on partnerships – partnerships on the pitch. You want to build those partnerships.

“But we are still looking for that winning formula. We’ve got a team and squad that can mix it up and is adaptable to different formations and change. And we will get there.”

Clarke is yet to name the same starting XI two games row.

And he admitted that is a sign he doesn’t yet know his best team.

“It is but I have had some players unavailable through injury as well,” he continued.

“But I do treat every game as an individual project.

“It’s a different game, different mentality.

“We’ve had a bad start to the season with a new group of players.

“Let’s move on and try and beat Coventry.”

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