Darrell Clarke: Perform or you’ll be out of Walsall XI
Walsall boss Darrell Clarke has warned his players they will need to keep their standards high if they are to stay in his plans for taking the club forward.
Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Salford City put a huge decent in recent Saddlers’ optimism, not least as it came after a run of four successive wins in all competitions.
And it drew an impassioned reaction from the manager, who substantially reshaped the squad in the summer, but will have no hesitation in doing the same again if the players do not meet his demands.
“We are nowhere near a top-seven League Two team and it is going to take time,” said Clarke. “It is going to take another window or two and that is the way it is.
“I don’t mind digging the players out because if they can’t take it then get out of the kitchen.
“People might be saying I’m getting carried away with the Salford game after the last four results, but I don’t care.
“I want success, I’m hungry for success and I’m hungry to bring success to Walsall.
“The pressure is on Walsall players at the minute because the club have been up higher in the pyramid. They have to realise that those expectations are going to be higher.
“Are those expectations right? Probably not, but that’s football.
“I will deal with that no problem, but the players have to deal with it as well.
“I said to the players no-one hands this game to you on a plate – I don’t wait for anybody, and will be ruthless when I need to be ruthless. If they are not showing it to me, they will be gone, out the door, whether that be January or in the summer.
“That is what we have got to adhere to, we have got to make Walsall a successful team.
“I will get there, make no bones about it, I will get there.”
Clarke is hoping that influential midfielder Danny Guthrie will not be sidelined with injury for too long, having also been without strikers Caolan Lavery (injury), and Rory Gaffney (ineligible) at the weekend.
The players reported back today to start preparing for Saturday’s trip to Leyton Orient, but Clarke is also keen to ensure home form improves in front of the Saddlers’ faithful.
“Standards have got to be set and we’ve got to be winning our home games because all we are doing if we don’t is disappointing our home fans,” he said.
“Any successful teams win their home games, and we won’t be successful if we don’t turn that corner at home that’s for sure.”
Meanwhile, ex-Walsall boss Dean Keates has returned to management with old club Wrexham.