Bescot Banter: Work to do for Walsall

Well, it's fair to say that, despite suffering just one defeat in the league so far this season, the Saddlers have been in the midst of a mediocre spell of form over the last few weeks and have plenty of work to do if they are to improve upon last season's mid-table finish.

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke and chairman Leigh Pomlett.
Walsall manager Darrell Clarke and chairman Leigh Pomlett.

Heading into last Tuesday's clash with Cambridge United the Saddlers had drawn six of their eight league outings, but, despite securing the lion's share of possession, were simply unable to break their promotion-placed opponents down as they huffed and puffed their way through what was a largely forgettable midweek affair at a chilly Banks's Stadium.

Almost more disappointing than the result was the method of defeat as a duo of individual errors, something which is creeping further and further into our game, saw Mark Bonner's in-form Cambridge able to hit two goals from the penalty spot as they maintained the gap between themselves and top-of-the-table Newport County.

Whilst the season is still young and our recent form affords the manager plenty of time to get things right, it remains crucial for the Saddlers to pick up points on a regular basis and a continuation of their recent error strewn outings will more than likely result in a string of defeats rather than a return to the recently-ended unbeaten spell.

As mentioned in last weekend's column, the club has a hungry, in-form youth team to call upon and if the current crop of first-teamers aren't performing on a consistent basis, whether that's down to the busy run of games taking its toll, or they're just not clicking as a unit, then surely others should be given an opportunity to do so.

Over recent years we've seen a number of now former managers ignore past performances and stubbornly stick with their favoured few and it very rarely pays off. If a player feels their position isn't under threat then where is the motivation to improve going to come from?

Whilst it's never recommended to constantly chop and change a team, and the manager's recent formation experiments have failed to hit the mark, we would welcome the introduction of some fresh legs into the first-team squad, even if it is simply to light a fire under some of our frustratingly under-performing players.

With the games continuing to arrive thick and fast the team could so easily find itself looking towards the foot of the table rather than the top, and something must be done in a bid to stop that happening.

Hopefully the midweek defeat to Cambridge will serve as motivation to both manager and players as we return to action against a now-managerless Mansfield Town this weekend.

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