Brian Dutton: I’ve got two Walsall games to impress

Brian Dutton believes he is still in the running for the Walsall job next season and is targeting a strong end to the campaign to achieve it.

Brian Dutton
Brian Dutton

The 36-year called for clarity over his future after the 2-0 win over Scunthorpe last week and hinted it could be his last game in charge.

Since then, the chances of Dutton staying on at the Banks’s Stadium next season have seemed slim but now he insists he still has a chance of earning a new deal.

His current contract expires at the end of the season and when asked if he thinks he can still secure the job long-term, Dutton said: “Yes, of course. That’s what I’ll be trying to do. We’re not in bad form. In the last nine games we’ve won three and had five clean sheets.

“I feel like the players are starting to understand and implement what we’ve been asking. It’s been a long, slow process and it’s been difficult to keep the confidence and morale up.

“But I feel we’re just starting to turn a corner with these guys.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time with Walsall. Every aspect of the job, the good and bad, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I want to be successful. We have a special chairman at the football club who I want to do well for and we have a special group of fans. This core of fans who gave their money back to aid the club during a global pandemic.

“This is a working class town and that is not an act that should go undervalued, it is a massive act of generosity and it’s because the supporters absolutely adore the football club.

“That goes a long way with me. I want to pay that back and I’ll be doing everything in my power to make sure that happens.”

Dutton’s post-match comments came as a surprise to many after the club had secured League Two safety.

Although he would not comment on why, or what has changed, Dutton has admitted his future is now more uncertain than it was previously.

“I was more concerned about my future, like I alluded to,” he added.

“It’s nice to have clarity but I haven’t got clarity, which is fine.

“What I have got is two opportunities left to impress, that’s what I’ll be focusing and concentrating on.

“I look too far in the future at times, the reality is I’ve got two more opportunities and I shouldn’t be thinking about other things, I should be concentrating about football. That’s what I’ll do.”

When asked if he was at any point unsure if he would be in charge for today’s clash with Morecambe, he added: “You’re always unsure as a football manager.

“Any manager who has certainty about what’s around the corner is a more confident individual than I am.

“The fans and the chairman have been very supportive and helpful. I always thought I’d be in charge for the remaining games.”

A big part of Dutton’s tenure as head coach has been promoting youth with Sam Perry, Joe Willis and Tom Leak all receiving their league debuts in the last few months.

That philosophy is one he wishes to continue and wants to implement if he does stay with the club next season.

“I’m focusing on the long-term future of Walsall,” Dutton said.

“I was up at the youth academy Thursday night refereeing a game between the under-14s and under-15s - somehow I got roped into that!

“I thoroughly enjoyed watching the next batch of Walsall talent progress. There is talent right through the football club.

“I would love to be here to see some of those guys eventually make it onto the first team pitch.

“I would love to be a part of it but I don’t know if I will be, only the chairman and the powers that be can make those decisions.”

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