Danny Guthrie sets standard for Walsall kids, says Darrell Clarke
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke is aiming to mould his young midfield talents in the shape of experienced professional Danny Guthrie.
The 32-year-old has struggled with injuries at times this season, but he has proved to be one of the Saddlers’ best outlets on the ball.
The former Liverpool player has played a big part in the club’s recent fine form and Clarke has highlighted his importance, while claiming he’s trying to build the younger midfielder’s into a player of Guthrie’s quality.
“There’s a key to your cog with Danny Guthrie,” he said. “He’s missed a lot of games this season and it’s been hard to get him fit, but he has that knack and quality that gets you playing.
“We can all agree when Danny Guthrie is in that team, he’s a good player.
“Now we’re trying to turn Alfie Bates into that sort of player and Sam Perry, but they’re not quite ready or near the level of Danny Guthrie, as you’d expect.
“He’s a proper intelligent football that sees the areas on the ball to play the ball and hurt teams.
“We have a good few weeks of training into him now and he’s getting fitter by the day.
“(Stuart) Sinclair is getting his fitness back.
“(Liam) Kinsella has been excellent and (Nathan) Sheron when he comes in is a dog, so I have good options.”
Meanwhile, Clarke has praised Saturday’s opponents Exeter for doing ‘things right’ as they go in search of League Two promotion.
The Saddlers beat them 3-1 at the weekend but following the game Clarke gave a glowing review of Matt Taylor’s team, as he aims to build his own squad in their model.
“They have good players and are fighting up there for promotion, with a good manager,” he added.
“I speak very highly of them and I think it’s a good football club that’s done it right over the years.
“They’ve yo-yoed a bit from League One and League Two, but they do things right and spend what they can.
“A bit similar to ourselves and that’s what we’re trying to build.”