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WHITNEY ENCOURAGED BY SADDLERS DISPLAY

20 July 2016

Honours even at the Banks's...

Walsall manager Jon Whitney was encouraged by his side’s performance in the 1-1 friendly draw with Championship side Birmingham. 

Amadou Bakayoko’s third penalty in two games put the Saddlers ahead on 53 minutes, only for Paul Caddis to equalise ten minutes from time with a curling free-kick. 

Whitney’s men have now won one, drawn one and lost one in pre-season, and the 45-year-old feels his new-look side are progressing nicely - both in terms of fitness and performance. 

“It was really pleasing,” said Whitney after the Blues match. “From a fitness element, it was fantastic. We had no injuries and every manager at this stage will tell you it’s great to get games under your belt. 

“Some of the lads got 65/70 minutes so they are starting to build towards 90. 

“There was some really good stuff and it was great to see us carry on some of the good football we played at Solihull. 

“Birmingham are a very well drilled team and it was like a chess match at times - a bit like some of the games last season. They sat in deep, but we also got into our shape really well. It was two really well organised teams. 

“At this stage of pre-season, to have that is really pleasing for us. We are a new team but people can already see what we are about. 

“We have done a lot of work on shape and the players know we attack from a defensive shape. But we have also got players who can unlock a defence, so it’s really exciting for me and the coaches. 

“We played a lot of the kids at the end but the tempo they played at – none of them shied away from it. “I was really pleased for them because that is what we are about – giving youngsters game minutes against a top ten Championship team.”

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