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WHITNEY: IT'S A TEAM EFFORT FOR WALSALL

21 April 2016

The Saddlers are third heading into this weekend...

Head coach Jon Whitney says Walsall’s team ethos has been the “main ingredient” behind the club’s sustained promotion challenge.

With just four matches of the season remaining, the Saddlers are third in League One – three points behind second-placed Burton, having played a game less.

And Whitney believes a strong philosophy, allied with a willingness to work hard for each other, has contributed significantly to the side’s impressive form.

“It’s been paramount – that’s our main ingredient,” said Whitney. “Our philosophy is all built around a team ethos.

“We’ve got great individuals, technical players, but they keep within the team parameters. They express themselves within the team ethos. They have to work for the team.

“It’s quite easy sometimes when you’re playing free-flowing football to do what we call ‘positive running’. It’s the negative running where we stand out – we work back and cover our teammates.

“We try things but then if it doesn’t come off, we react and get back into shape. It’s all about reactions. If you do that, it gives you another chance to get another offensive play.

“The lads are gelled. They buzz off each other, they help each other and that’s what it’s all about. This energy within the team has got us to where we are.”

Walsall have taken seven points from the last three games to close the gap on the top two.

And Whitney believes the players deserve credit for how they’ve performed throughout the campaign – and also how they’ve handled “adversity”.

“It’s a great position for us to be in and we deserve to be in that position for how we’ve worked over the season,” he said.

“It’s not just happened in the last month or the last week, it’s what we’ve done from day one.

“With the changes we’ve had over the season as well, and losing the training ground for four months, the lads have got to take credit for that.

“We’ve had adversity in football terms but they’ve handled it really well and they deserve this chance. We’re ready and rested ahead of our final four games.”

The first of those fixtures is against Phil Parkinson’s promotion hopefuls Bradford this weekend.

“It’s a great game,” Whitney added. “I love going there and when I played, it was always one of my favourite grounds. I’m really looking forward to going there.

“It’ll be a packed house and a really good atmosphere. It’ll be a true test again. But it’s the business end of the season and we’re ready for the business.”

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