Walsall boss Darrell Clarke frustrated at missed opportunity
Darrell Clarke admits he is still frustrated at Walsall's current league position as their home form and losses to struggling teams have halted a secure promotion challenge this season.
The Saddlers came back from 2-0 down to defeat play-off hopefuls Northampton Town 3-2 on Saturday in a week that saw them beat fellow challenger Forest Green and draw at Newport County.
But Clarke admits he is still frustrated when he looks at the club's standings as losses to clubs such as Morecambe and Carlisle have meant Walsall still sit nine points away from a play-off spot.
"I am frustrated, I don't think I hide from that fact," he said.
"Albeit Walsall were higher up the pyramid in recent years I don't think anybody realistically thought you could start a team from scratch and get in the top seven.
"I am a little bit frustrated because I think we've missed a couple of opportunities this year to get up there fighting.
"The demands of the players are high and we've shipped too many points this season - we could be higher up the pyramid that's for sure.
“The reason we’re not in the top seven is our home form – it’s as simple as that, it’s black and white isn’t it.
“We’re sixth in the table on away form, if we put another seven or eight points on our home form we’d have been right in the mix.
“We can only build on this.
"I try to be honest and I'm pretty consistent with my reports, we're trying to build a top seven team here.
"It was going to be very difficult with loads of bumps in the road because we started from scratch.
"We're not a club that spends loads of money to be a top seven team, we have to develop into that.
"I believe that's the right way to go about it and with that it takes a bit of time.
"With bumps you hope the players will come out of it strong but I guarantee not everyone will and they will be moved aside ready for other players to come in and then the cycle continues."
With 12 games remaining this season, Clarke remained in good spirits when asked if a promotion push was still possible, as he admits the gap is likely to be too big to make up.
“You never know, the Clarke steam train sometimes goes," he joked.
“I think we have a lot of areas to improve on and I don’t kid myself.
“We try and win every game."