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WHITNEY: BOUNCE BACK AT OLDHAM

11 August 2016

Gaffer looking for a response...

Jon Whitney says Walsall are determined to get back on track at Oldham this weekend. 

The Saddlers began the League One campaign in style with a comfortable 3-1 victory over newly-promoted Wimbledon, thanks to a Simeon Jackson brace and a stunning Erhun Oztumer free-kick. 

But Whitney’s men were brought back down to earth on Tuesday night after they were knocked out of the EFL Cup at the first-round stage by League Two Yeovil after losing 2-0 in extra time. 

And the boss wants his side to quickly put that disappointment behind them at Boundary Park this Saturday. 

“We never want to lose games and as a collective we were disappointed with the Yeovil result as we weren’t on our game,” said Whitney. 

“But all we can do is control what happens after it and we have to think about Oldham at the weekend. 

“Credit to Yeovil, I thought they were a really good unit and they did a job, but that’s in the past now. 

“We have to move on and look ahead to Oldham, which is going to be a tough task.” 

Steve Robinson’s Oldham lost 3-0 at Millwall in their season opener, before overcoming Championship new-boys Wigan 2-1 in the EFL Cup. 

And Whitney believes the Latics – who, like Walsall, recruited several new players in the close season – will pose a real test. 

“Steve has had a rebuilding job this summer and in his post-match analysis he mentioned how pleased he was that they beat Wigan because the players had started to gel,” he commented. 

“Oldham are similar to us in how they’ve brought in a lot of new players and it takes time for them to bed in. 

“Hopefully we’ve got enough in the tank to give them a really tough game. 

“It’s always a tough place to go to and I’m sure he’ll want to see the same attributes that they showed against Wigan because they were good. 

“They had good energy and, although Wigan went down to ten men, they were defensively sound and an attacking threat as well. 

“It’ll be a test for us but hopefully we’ll be a test for them too.” 

Walsall excelled on the road in 2015/16, winning 13 of their 23 games and losing only four times. 

No League One team accumulated more away points than the Saddlers’ 45 last season and Whitney is looking for his side to be consistent again this term - both home and away. 

“We always talk about consistency of performance whether you’re playing away or at home,” he added. 

“I’m trying to get my players into good habits where they can perform at a consistent level wherever we play. 

“If we can do that, then hopefully we’ll pick up more points than we lose, home and away.”

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