Walsall boss Darrell Clarke believes his side will become a target for their Sky Bet League Two rivals after extending the country’s longest undefeated league run to 11 games with a 0-0 draw against Exeter.
The Saddlers’ sequence dates back to a strong end to last season and they had the better chances against the Grecians.
Emmanuel Osadebe steered Wes McDonald’s cross wide from 10 yards early on and Elijah Adebayo’s second-half header was superbly tipped over by Exeter goalkeeper Lewis Ward.
“We’re on a good run but when you’re on that, you become a target – sides want to break that and they raise their game five to 10 per cent so we’ll have to be on our mettle,” said Clarke.
“There won’t be many teams who want to play us when we’re on form, that’s for sure.
“Our run being the longest shows, if you look through the four divisions, this is how hard it is to win professional games.
“There was respect from both sides today and I think you could tell it was our third game in a week, they were a bit fresher at times but I thought we created the better chances.
“It was a cagey affair, two good teams cancelling each other out. For me, Exeter would have got in the top three last year if the season wasn’t curtailed.
“I wanted a clean sheet – in this run of 10 league games undefeated, now 11, we’ve only had two clean sheets but I thought we defended superbly as a team.”
Exeter almost snatched the points late on as Walsall goalkeeper Liam Roberts slipped when needlessly rushing out of his box but substitute Ben Seymour’s lob could not find the empty net.
Exeter boss Matt Taylor said: “It was a slugfest, two good teams going at it, no quarter given by both. There was barely a clear-cut chance in the game which would suggest defences were on top.
“It was two evenly-matched teams, both looking for a bit of quality to make the breakthrough or a mistake by the opposition and we almost got in off a slip from their keeper.
“They have a real handful in terms of their centre-forward, Adebayo, but once we started to work out how to deal with him, we got a foothold in the game.
“That’s the first of something like six games in 18 days and the squad will be tested to its limit but if they were as honest as they were today, we’ve got a foundation.
“It just felt like when Joe Randall and Randell Williams, our most dangerous players, got on the ball they were cancelled out pretty early and we couldn’t quite create in and around the box.”