This may be dramatic of me, but I feel the next three games will really define how the rest of our season goes.
We have a run of three games that, on paper, are winnable. Crawley are similar to us. They have taken 9 points from their last 5 games however they are also unbeaten in their last 5. They will pose a threat, but it is a game Walsall must win if they want anything other than mid-table mediocrity, and let’s not forget, we have already beaten them this season.
I don’t think that we will be pushing for the play offs. We showed against Cheltenham that we aren’t ready to compete that high up, and there is a substantial gap already, with several teams battling it out up there. However, I think it would be a great achievement to finish in the top ten. We all know that October was a write off, but if we could (a big could) finish in the top ten, it would show that we can compete next season, and would, in my opinion, be a fantastic finish, considering we did drop to only a couple of points from relegation.
After Crawley, we have Carlisle away and Morecambe at home. Both, despite losing to Carlisle at home, are winnable games, and games that, for a team looking up the table rather than down it, should be winning. These are often the games that Walsall struggle in, and they are games that Clarke will be keen for us to get a positive result in.
We need a rest, and I am glad we have no midweek fixture, as we have had midweek games every match since Exeter on December 21st. It gives players chance to rest, injured players an opportunity to recover, and the potential of a new signing (or two) being announced. I would be happy with 7 points from our next 3 games. Draw to Crawley, then 2 wins against 2 relegation candidates. This would keep us looking at that 10th place as something achievable, and gives the players a base to build another run on.
These three games will also be a big test for our defence. We have players missing (hopefully to return soon) and players who have underperformed. They have to show that they can play well against these three teams or else, in my opinion, they aren’t League 2 standard.
So there are some ramblings from me. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about the next few games, and realistically where you think we will finish.