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WHITNEY: LET'S PLAY WITH A SMILE ON OUR FACE

9 March 2016

Players told to "enjoy it"...

Interim head coach Jon Whitney has told his players to “enjoy” the promotion run-in and to play with a smile on their face.

The Saddlers are fourth in League One, five points off the automatic promotion places with a game in hand, heading into this weekend’s match at Chesterfield.

And Whitney, who was placed in charge of first-team affairs on Monday, is approaching his new role in a typically positive manner.

“Even in the most dire circumstances I tend to find enjoyment, because I tend to put a positive spin on most things,” said Whitney.

“The week’s been OK. It’s not been that hard because I know the players, we haven’t changed many personnel, the staff are still the same, so most of my day-to-day stuff is still very similar.

“Coming from this side now and taking this lead, things have to be a little bit different. We have to set out some parameters which the players have to adhere to.

“But I want my door to be open for all the players. I want there to be a fluidity around the place and let people relax and enjoy being here.

“We have accountability, we are professional footballers and we have a job. But, while we are doing it, let’s enjoy it and see where it takes us for this mini-season of 12 games.”

Whitney also wants the players to express themselves.

“We’ve got a really good defensive shape but I want the players to go and show what they’re about,” he added.

“We need to get back to having some momentum and fluidity to our play. Everyone’s tired at this stage of the season so that’s not an excuse. Tiredness comes from the mind.

“If we can make sure they keep themselves switched on above the shoulders then the rest will fall into place and we’ll play with energy, enthusiasm and a smile on our face.

“The knock on effect of that is the fans will have a smile on their face, as will the board and I’ll have a longer career on this side of the table!”

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