THE under-fire manager of Darlington’s FA Cup opponents on Saturday admits his team have “lost the fans”.

In contrast to Quakers’ seven-game unbeaten run, which includes six wins, Walsall have dropped to third bottom of League Two with six defeats in succession, the aftermath of Saturday’s loss at Swindon Town seeing sections of the Saddlers support voice their frustration.

Most of the criticism was aimed at manager Darrell Clarke, the former Hartlepool United midfielder who was appointed by Walsall six months ago.

“We know we’ve lost the fans, we lost them a while ago," he told the Express and Star.

“I never agreed to come to this club for it to be a quick fix. We’re in a world where everyone expects it to happen quickly.

“Well no, in League Two you either chuck loads of money at it to get yourself in the top seven or you have to develop and work with players. We’re part B of that so we’ll keep working.

“I can understand the disappointment and the way the fans are feeling because they’ve been higher up in the pyramid.

“I get the frustration, the only way we can do anything about that is by winning football matches.”

Darlington were disappointed to be held to a 0-0 home draw by Hereford, opposition that had a man sent off in the first half, but supporters are pleased with the progression made under manager Alun Armstrong.

Having last week focused on two home games inside four days, he is now free to work on preparing for the trip to Walsall in the first round of the cup.

“I’ll look at their videos now,” he said. “I never look at opposition videos until the next game is done, so I’ll fund out as much as I can see what we’re coming up against.

“But if the lads play like they did on Saturday we’ve got a hell of a chance.

“There’s going to be a bit more from the lads, there always is in the FA Cup especially when you’re playing a Football League club.

“I’m expecting a good show from the lads.”