Bits & Bobs
Walsall boss Darrell Clarke has confirmed that George Dobson wants to leave the club and also didn’t travel to their pre-season tour of Poland, so is training with the youth team while his agent sorts him a move out, hopefully to the Stadium of Light.
Jack Ross reckons Duncan Watmore has been doing well in pre-season training and is still very much part of his plans for the upcoming campaign. Ross said: “I have kept pushing and pushing for him to break barriers and he has bought into that. He has not missed a session in pre-season and that is good. Even before the game against South Shields he was a little bit stiff, as we had a session before the game, but again it is about breaking that barrier. He looks like he is stronger and fitter than he was when he came back last season and that is a big plus for us."
Watmore then chipped in with, “I want to play football games and the only way to do that is by working hard on and off the pitch. Hopefully, with a bit of luck, I will stay away from the injuries and string a few games together.”
The manager also reassured fans that Will Grigg is ready for the season ahead, Ross said: “Even towards the end of last season that injury was long behind him. I think he has looked more settled even in this short pre-season period. Joining a club mid-season is more challenging than at the beginning of the season. He feels more settled on and off the pitch. He has looked stronger and fresher than last season so will hopefully benefit from that as well this season.”
Meanwhile, Grigg was letting everyone know how comfortable he feels under his manager. “He's been brilliant,” said Grigg. “I heard some really good things about him before I signed and he was a massive part in that. I've been really impressed with everything about him - his man-management skills, the way he gets the team going, and his training on the training pitches has been top drawer.”
In other news, under 23s coach, Elliot Dickman, has praised striker, Lee Connelly, believing he can continue his development and break into the first team. “In training he trains really well and you can see he has good quality in front of goal”, said Dickman. “Sometimes we're a bit wasteful in games in terms of getting the ball to him, but he manages to create something out of nothing from set-pieces. Since Christmas onwards he contributed goals, but for the whole season he was terrific.”
The coach also commented on Jack Ross and his backroom staff, saying: “They’re brilliant, I can’t speak highly enough of them, they have a real close eye on the lads’ development and that’s how it should be. We’re part of the team and they’re at the top end, pushing and trying to win games. We’re here to support them in any way, shape or form we can. For me, that support is really positive and it’s something we’ve not always had. The fact we’ve got it now is fantastic really. We’ve got to provide players for the manager, and the good thing is the manager trusts these lads if he needs to give them an opportunity. The fact he sees them every day and watches our games means he sees it himself and it’s really positive.”