Darrell Clarke plots Walsall's revenge – in any way possible
Darrell Clarke believes his Walsall charges are ‘finding ways to win’ as they seek revenge over Carlisle United.
The Saddlers make the long journey to Cumbria tomorrow as they look to overturn the the 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture on December 29.
A 94th-minute Harry McKirdy header sealed the victory on that day, but Walsall have since responded well with three wins in their four league games since.
And Clarke is eager for his side to continue they recent consistency.
“It’s a results-based business,” he said.
“The boys, over a consistent eight or nine-week period now, are finding ways to win football matches.
“That’s what it’s all about, we have to keep continuing to do that.
“Whichever way that may be, with the ball on the deck or being competitive, normally it’s a mixture of both.
“We just have to keep our focus and keep working away.
“Games of football are won on such fine lines.
“The mentality of the group is in the high percentage of how you win games.
“I think that’ll always be the case with an element of 10, 15 per cent luck.
“Luck being injuries, suspensions.
“Luck as in, hitting the post or going in the inside of the post and going in.
“A decision where the referee gets it wrong.
“For me, mentality is a big percentage of how you get results.
“It’s a word I’ve used a lot and people are probably sick of hearing it, but for me it’s what it’s about, the mentality of the individual. It’s about working away and building on that when you’re on a good run or a bad run.
“We’ll keep focusing on that as well as the work we need to do on the training pitch.”
Clarke has criticised his side’s mentality at times this season, and while he still demands improvement from the squad, he has been impressed with their willingness to learn.
“They’re a great bunch, great characters some of them,” he said. “There’s a real good desire to want to listen and to do well.
“And a good backroom team to back that up.
“They know exactly what I’m like, I’m pushing them.
“My staff are pushing them.
“We’re quite ruthless in that approach to keep making sure they get better and no-one sits on their laurels. There’s a lot of improvement that needs to be put into the group.”
Clarke has remained coy about injuries this season as he insists he’s keen not to give opposition managers any detail on the players he has to choose from.
He confirmed last week at the fans’ forum that midfielder Stuart Sinclair was nearing a return, hinting tomorrow’s fixture may be the right time for his comeback.
Danny Guthrie returned from injury against Crawley last week, however, there has been no update on Shay Facey, Zak Jules and Rory Gaffney, who have all suffered setbacks.
New signings Nathan Sheron and Jack Nolan are expected to be involved in the squad, while 18-year-old Alfie Bates will be bidding to claim back his place.