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Walsall v Darlington: Darrell Clarke wants Saddlers to see off underdogs in FA Cup replay

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

WALSALL manager Darrell Clarke wants his side to put in a ‘professional’ performance when they travel to face Darlington in the FA Cup first round replay tonight.

The non-league side scored a 96th minute equaliser in the 2-2 draw in the Black Country to earn a replay against the Saddlers.

Clarke’s men now face a 320-mile round trip to the North East and the boss wants his side to focus on a game that he says no-one will want them to win.

“We go there, the TV cameras are there and everyone wants the underdog to win,” he said.

“Our backs are against the wall in that aspect.

“For me, it’s about going up there and doing a job professionally and try and get ourselves in the second round.

“I’ve had both ends of the spectrum in the FA Cup where I’ve been the underdog and the ones that are expected to win.

“Both of them are not easy things to do, but it’s always hard when everyone is willing Darlo to go through.

“If we’re professional and approach the game as we have done in the last couple of games then I’m sure we’ll do alright.

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“It’s 11 men vs 11 men with two goalkeepers a referee and two linesmen, that’s all it is.

“Take all the rubbish away, the team names, and that’s football isn’t it.

“Yes we’re expected to win because we have better players, because they’re playing higher up the pyramid.

“But it counts for nothing.

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“If they raise their game 10 or 15 per cent and we dip below that – that’s why you see non-league teams beat Premier League teams.

“The focus has got to be on winning the football game, don’t worry about the occasion.

“Go out there and win a game of football.”

And for the club, progressing in cup competitions also means bringing in extra revenue.

Clarke says it makes a difference as the money earned from the cups can go towards new player signings.

“It is (big) when you bring in a pound and spend a pound, that’s what we do,” he added.

“Even progressing in the EFL Trophy is big.

“People belittle that competition and I get that with the Premier League teams in it.

“But for financial rewards it’s a big competition for us.

“And the FA Cup is a big competition for us.

“The more money you can gain through revenue, the more I can buy myself some new toys.”

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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