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Walsall likely to focus on loan market for summer rebuild

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has revealed the club may need to rely on loan deals next season due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

Darrell Clarke.
Darrell Clarke.

After more than three months without football – and with no firm date for the start of the 2020/21 season – the Saddlers have had to run a tight ship to keep finances in order.

Clarke’s side go into the new season with the same core group of players as last year, but the 42-year-old says loan deals may make up the rest of his squad – with a return on the cards for previous loan stars.

“Improving the team is going to be difficult with the financial implications that have gone with us finishing the season and no revenue coming into the club,” he said.

“As things stand, unless things change, it will potentially only be loans coming into the club. Rory (Holden) is a player that I really like, he grew into his role.

“The loan players that we had last year were exceptional, with the lads and their attitude – exactly the sort of type of loan players that we needed to bring in.

“Not only did their performances improve, they were the right people to have in the environment and the changing room.

“We’ll see what the window brings and they’re players we’d like to bring back, because they did well, but they’re at their parents clubs.

“It’s one of those, they’re not our players, so we’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Clarke was coy with details when asked about the positions he is targeting to improve – insisting that the ‘unknown’ status of next season means he does not know his budget.

“I’m not going to emphasise positions as things stand,” he added.

“I’ll be working with the players that are contracted and some of the young players.

“In the pre-season programme I might look at one or two trialists as well. There’ll certainly be no rush to bring players in.

“It’s still the unknown so I don’t really want to say too much on it.

“We don’t know when we’re playing in front of crowds yet, so budgets will be set further down the line.

“Obviously I know in the back of my mind the areas of the pitch that I want to strengthen in, but I’ll keep them under my hat until we’re back in flow.”

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