Bescot Banter: Huge summer ahead for Walsall

The Saddlers arrive at the final weekend of the campaign with the worst finish in club history already confirmed.

Brian Dutton
Brian Dutton

Many months of turmoil have seen the team struggle for form, with the odd burst of wins ultimately proving to be enough to avoid a disastrous drop into non-league football, although this is far from the web any of us were hoping the team would weave over the course of the campaign.

Disappointing displays, lengthy winless spells, and the pure frustration after watching the number of individual errors far outweigh the amount of shots on goal, it's fair to say fans have seen it all, despite being unable to venture inside the not-so Fortress Bescot.

Last weekend's defeat to promotion-chasing Morecambe gave us yet another example of just how bad this team can be. And whilst we're always keen to look at the positives of any situation, there were very few to take from the game.

Despite securing 75% of the ball, and more than doubling the number of passes managed by the Shrimps, Brian Dutton's side were able to create just one shot on target in what was yet another flaccid frontline display.

If anything in terms of tactics has to be addressed over the summer, be it by current head coach Dutton or another new man at the helm, it is how the midfield and attack link up. Far too many games have been allowed to fall by the wayside as the Reds' midfield and attack fail to get it together enough to make something happen in front of goal.

Whilst we have the personnel, Liam Kinsella, Alfie Bates, and Sam Perry in midfield, Wes McDonald, Josh Gordon, Caolan Lavery, and Rory Holden in attack, there seems to be some sort of disconnect when it comes to creating something in the final third.

Fans don't expect their team to win every game, and fully understand that sometimes the opposition have simply been the better side, but often it's the Saddlers who fail to take advantage of their chances with far too many games being decided by errors, both individual and collective.

With that being said, there are plenty of issues for the club to get stuck in to over the coming weeks and months with the biggest of them being the future of the team as a whole.

As the majority of the current crop, along with head coach Brian Dutton, are set to reach the end of their contracts late next month, the board and new technical director Jamie Fullarton will have their work cut out as they look to rebuild the side over the summer months.

There is very little time separating the end of the current season to the start of another so we're likely to see plenty of incomings and outgoings as soon as the curtain comes down on Saturday evening, and we may well be in for a few surprises too as an existing contract shouldn't protect some of our poorest performers from being shown the door.

As we've learned over the years, there is little room for sentiment in the modern game, and, with the already small playing budget likely to feel the squeeze as the club awaits the green light to welcome fans back to the Banks's, there isn't going to be much money to play with.

So, whether they're already set to depart after already learning where their future lies, or are currently hoping to stay in WS1 beyond the current campaign, we hope the team can end the season with something resembling a competent display, it's the least the fans deserve.

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