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POSITIVES TO TAKE AND ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

25 July 2016

Saddlers Boss reacts to Derby defeat with level head...

SADDLERS Boss, Jon Whitney insists he will take a lot from the game after seeing his side suffer a 2-0 defeat to Derby County in our final home friendly of the pre-season campaign.

A goal in each half from Darren Bent and Tom Ince proved decisive in what was a worthwhile workout for the Saddlers who featured new recruits Franck Moussa and Simeon Jackson for the first time.

And whilst Whitney was pleased with individual performances, he also acknowledged that there is still plenty to work to do with the season just two weeks away.

“I’m a little bit frustrated but that’s the way we are as a group we always want to win games,” admitted Whitney. “It was a good test for us because Derby were a good unit but it’s pre-season and you can’t get too carried away.

“You can see we need to work on our shape because against Birmingham we shifted really well but I thought we looked a little disjointed today.

“Second half we came out and started well, we pressed a little higher and with a bit more aggression.

“I think you have to take a step back and see that actually there were a lot of positives to take from the game.

"Callum Cockerill-Mollet got 90 minutes at left back so we got to see what he was like starting a game. We’ve brought him into the fold and that’s what I want to do.

“I want to get the kids used to playing in front of a crowd here at the Banks’s. Every time he’s been with us he’s looked better and stronger and he doesn’t shy away from it, he rises to the challenge.

“So I’ve said to all our young players, if you’re good enough, and I think you can do a job for this team then we don’t have to wait two years for you to turn professional. It’s how we’ve got to be as a club and it’s an incredible motivation for them.

“Franck Moussa needed 45 minutes, he’s still a couple of weeks away but we needed to see him out on the pitch.

“The same for Simeon [Jackson], they’ll both realise it’s their first match minutes so we can’t read too much into it.

“George Dobson was excellent; it’s a great learning curve for him and to play alongside Adam [Chambers] to see the kind of work ethic that he’s got.

“Amadou [Bakayoko] came on and did well and their goal was against the run of play but there were some good performances in there.

“So positives to take but areas where we can improve as well."

The Saddlers are next in action on Tuesday evening (7.45pm) when they make the trip to Meadow Lane to take on Notts County in our penultimate pre-season friendly.

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