During the course of the season, we had many players playing in the full-back position. For this, I will look at those who were the main players who featured there, and then look at what we need to do over the summer. In regards to Shay Facey, I wrote a lot about him when he left, so I have looked at the other three players.
Firstly, we have Cameron Norman. As things stand, Norman is our only out and out RB for the season ahead. He has had a very mixed bag of a Walsall career so far, but then again, so has the team from when he joined last January. He featured 24 times for us this season, 18 of those in the league. There were games that passed him by, but then there were games that he showed what he can do. Norman did not feature in the league in November or December. However, he kicked off 2020 with 2 solid performances. On new years day, he helped keep the defence solid when reduced to 10 men, and the following game, he switched to LB after CCM came off injured. In this role he had a sublime game. Since this, he has more good days than bad. Crawley and Exeter, he started to really shine. However, the thing that frustrates fans about Norman, is that he is inconsistent. At times, his positioning can let him down, however I feel he is improving. Next season he will feature more, in my opinion, something I am hoping will bring out the best in him. Vital Rating – 6.5/10 – Started to build some consistency, but quite late on in the season.
Callum Cockerill-Mollett made 15 appearances this season, which is more than any other season. The best way to sum up Callum’s playing season, is to say that the more he plays, the more we could see him develop. He had been playing well before being hit with injury in early January. That game turned out to be his last for the season. Clarke clearly sees talent, or else he wouldn’t have offered a new deal (which is yet to be accepted). I hope that Callum gets a good run in the team next season, as we all can see he a talented player, and playing more first team football will no doubt aid his development. He showed he can also be versatile, by playing in a back 3 as well as a LB, something DC will look to use for the season ahead. Vital Rating – 7/10 – He shone when he played, injury came at the worst time as he had broken in to the squad.
Many of us were sad to see Cameron Pring return to Bristol City. Darrell Clarke has spoke about the loan players, and that he may be taking a look, and I for one would love to see Pring in a Walsall shirt again. Pring really grew with the more football he played. His 21 league appearances this season is more than all of his league appearances to date combined. He had a real attacking flair, but also seemed to grow defensively as the season progressed. Vital Rating – 7/10 – A player who we saw grow, ultimately he has grown beyond us.
We have been lacking of a good LB for a while, and between Pring and Cockerill-Mollett I felt we had a good left side, which was nice to say. Not since Scott Laird, do I feel we have had a solid LB, and I now look to next season, knowing that (should he sign) we have someone I would happily see starting there.
On the right, I think Norman can hold and make the position his own. He had a good competition for the spot in Facey, but now is the season that I think he needs to show his value to the club.
In the transfer market, I would like to see a versatile Full-Back come in. Someone who can fill in at either side. However, that may be difficult to find for a league two club. I imagine, with Jules and Clarke, that this may be low down on the priority list, should DC see them fit for purpose as full-backs.