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WHITNEY HOPING FOR MORE OF THE SAME

14 April 2016

Gaffer wants Walsall to build on Gills win...

Jon Whitney is hoping Walsall can “back up” their performance at Gillingham with another strong showing against Southend on Saturday.

Second-half strikes from Milan Lalkovic and Jordy Hiwula earned the Saddlers an impressive 2-1 victory over their promotion rivals.

The result lifted Walsall up to third in League One – five points behind second-placed Burton but with a game in hand.

And with Phil Brown’s Southend visiting the Banks’s this weekend, Whitney says his side must now build on Tuesday’s encouraging display.

“I want my players to be positive,” said Whitney. “I don’t want them to get too down or too carried away. We always talk about an emotional baseline.

“It was a great performance at Gillingham but we’ve quickly put it to bed and now it’s all about Southend.

“We’re working on their strengths and how we can apply our strengths to capitalise on their weaknesses.

“We need to back up Tuesday night’s performance with a home performance. We’ve got four home games left with two away.

“We need to keep that consistency of performance and we’ll then see if it keeps us up there around the promotion places.”

Southend are 11th in League One, nine points off the top six with just five games remaining – and Whitney believes they’ll pose a tough test.

“I’m sure Phil will have his side fired up and they’ll keep going for the play-offs until it’s mathematically impossible,” said Whitney.

“I still think they’ve got an outside chance although it is going to be difficult. It’ll be a tough game on Saturday but, like every game, it’s about us.

“We know it’s going to be a test but we won’t be complacent, we’ll respect them for what they are and we know that what we’ve got will challenge any team in this league.”

Whitney is hopeful that striker Tom Bradshaw and defender James O’Connor will both be available for this weekend’s match.

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