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Walsall manager Darrell Clarke: Let’s stand up and be counted

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has urged his side to ‘stand up and be counted’ as they aim to finish the League Two season on a high.

Darrell Clarke
Darrell Clarke

After an injury time winner sealed a 3-2 comeback against Northampton on Saturday, Walsall now sit 13th in the division.

With 12 games of the season remaining, Clarke is ‘demanding’ his side show their mettle in the final months of the campaign.

“At Carlisle I gave them a lot of stick in a game that we should have won and we got beaten 2-1,” he said.

“Then the response has been pretty good.

“We don’t want to show weakness, if you’re going to be successful you’ll have to come back in games through the course of the season.

“I demand character, that’s a bare minimum for me.

“Pump your chests up, stand up and be counted.

“The game is all about mentality, the majority is.

“You’ll hear top level managers speaking exactly the same thing - in the walk of life and different jobs as well.

“Mentality has to be spot on, there’s loads of variables throughout football games that can change the mindset and change the mentality of players.

“It’s an ongoing focus that we try and work on to make sure they focus in a positive way.

“It can (be coached).

“You can learn it but a lot of it is learning through experience.

“Development players learn by going through stages of their career.

“For me you aren’t a pro footballer until you’ve played well over 100 games because then you’ve gone through different things in that time.

“Going through good spells, bad spells - and keeping consistency.

“If individuals get that right and have a strong mindset then that collectively comes into the team.”

Meanwhile Clarke is now focused on getting some of his injured players back in the side, and those who recently returned back up to scratch with their fitness.

“(Rory) Gaffney, who came in on loan, struggled at the start and has been carrying an injury for a period of time now,” he added.

“We’re hoping that when he comes back in fresh that he gives us another option as well.

“You need four good strikers at this level and obviously he hasn’t started his Walsall career great, but we’re hoping he adds some ingredients towards the end of the season.

“(Stuart) Sinclair needs more minutes and fitness work.

“Danny (Guthrie) is probably one of the most frustrating players because his ability is fantastic but keeping him fit and working on his fitness levels is very difficult to do - he’ll be the first one to tell you that.

“But he’s a class above when he plays.”

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