Walsall are back in League Two after a disastrous season last time out, but under Darrell Clarke they’re making steady progress.
He reshaped the squad over the summer, with key players such as Andy Cook, Margan Ferrier and George Dobson all moving on. It means they’re a new-look side at the moment with lots to prove.
They started horribly and sank towards the bottom of the table, but three wins in their last four fixtures have given fans hope they’ve turned a corner. Two wins, against relegation strugglers Morecambe and Scunthorpe, were perhaps more graciously received than most.
It’s put some breathing space between the single relegation spot and the Saddlers, with the focus now shifting to a clash with Leyton Orient. Last year’s National League winners are struggling in the lowe reaches of the table and will be the sort of opponent Clarke’s side will be expected to overcome.
As the season wears on, the manager is likely to look towards the youth team for any exciting prospects currently lingering just below the first team. In the past, Will Grigg, Matty Fryatt and Troy Deeney have emerged from their youth ranks and perhaps one of these three prospects will be next
Candlin was linked with a move to Blackburn Rovers in January, even moving to Ewood Park on loan, but they opted not to make the transfer permanent and he returned to the Bescot Stadium.
He’s barely featured this season, instead settling back into the development squad, but he’s certainly one for the future.
Darrel Clarke will surely be looking to polish the talent that Blackburn once saw over the coming months.
Willis is the captain of the Under 18 side and has been catching the eye of late under former Sheffield Wednesday defender Miguel Llera.
He is a creative influence, a player who acts as a conduit for a slick passing game implemented by the academy boss.
He gets forward to aid attacks but also has vision to pick out key passes, not unlike former captain Dobson.
Moss has been with the Saddlers since the Under 9 age group and is still a key figure for the Under 18 side.
His development has been impressive and he’s able to play out wide or as a number 10.
The diminutive attacking midfielder has a good eye for a pass and is also comfortable carrying the ball forward. The only drawback might be his size, but if Darrell Clarke takes a risk he’ll find an exciting young player in the small frame of Moss.