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Bescot Banter: A bigger summer ahead for Walsall

Well, we've reached the final weekend of the season and it'll soon be time to say goodbye to some of the current crop before welcoming some new blood to Fortress Bescot.

Walsall in action last week
Walsall in action last week

But before we can begin to look to the future, the Saddlers have an opportunity to play a part in the race for promotion as they play host to a well-backed Swindon Town, with the Robins looking to take their destiny into their own hands with Sutton United and Tranmere Rovers hoping to leapfrog them into the Play-Off places.

The team has shown an uncanny ability to compete with the teams who are battling it out at the top of the table so far this season, with victories over the likes of Sutton United, Tranmere Rovers, Forest Green Rovers, and Port Vale showing there is at least something for the boss to build upon over the coming months.

Of course, the Saddlers can only move up one place in the league table with a win, as well as some good luck from elsewhere, so could well field something of an experimental line-up as those who currently find themselves on the fringes of the first team look to catch the eye ahead of the soon-to-be-published, Released and Retained.

Looking back at 2021/22 as a whole and, after enduring one of the worst seasons in recent memory, which includes performances that make you question why you spend your hard-earned money following the team up and down the country, fans will no doubt be cheering extra loudly when the full-time whistle blows on Saturday afternoon.

Following another season of draws, defeats, and dismal displays, we're more than ready for another summer of change in WS1, and hope Head Coach Michael Flynn will be able to make the most of his limited budget and attract some hard-working players to his squad as fans deserve a team which gives it their all week-in-week-out.

Though things have clearly improved since Flynn made the move to the soon-to-be Poundland Bescot Stadium - the former Newport boss successfully guiding the team away from what was a very real threat of relegation - next season will have to see a massive step forward if an unwelcome visit the National League is to be avoided once again.

Clearly, there's a core group of players who have more than proven their worth, with the likes of Liam Kinsella, Jack Earing, Brendan Kiernan, and the newly-contracted Donervan Daniels, among a number of players who have proven their worth under their new boss, but they won't be enough to avoid yet another season of struggle.

A few weeks ago the manager admitted he was hoping to add strength to his squad over the summer, with the former midfielder who amassed over four-hundred league appearances over a nineteen-year playing career even going as far to say that he'd like to have two players in each position.

Obviously, without a particularly well-timed local lottery winner opting to forgo the holiday home in the sun in favour of a swoop for the Saddlers, our squad for next season is unlikely to have anything like those sort of options.

With defensive solidity and a lack of creativity continuing to cost his team points, the gaffer simply can't afford to sign quantity over quality and will likely have to delve even deeper into the club's youth system in order to add numbers to his squad, especially with Joss Labadie and Conor Wilkinson facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering ACL injuries - their wages likely taking a large chunk out of the already small pot.

Hopefully, the manager will be able to tie down a few more of the players to longer contracts before they expire and make his summer that little bit easier as he can target specific positions rather than having to undertake a complete rebuild which would no doubt take us back to square one when we've just started to make some progress.

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