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10 May 2016

Walsall eyeing a Wembley return...

Jon Whitney says Walsall are determined to reach the League One play-off final to give themselves a chance to exorcise their Wembley demons.

The Saddlers are to face Barnsley in a two-legged play-off semi-final after finishing the regular season in third place.

Should Walsall progress, they will play either Bradford or Millwall at Wembley on 29th May for a place in the Championship.

Last season, the Saddlers made it to the iconic home of English football for the first time in the club’s history – only to be beaten 2-0 by Bristol City in the JPT final.

And Whitney wants his side to put on a much-improved showing should they reach Wembley this time around.

“We’re very upbeat and looking forward to the play-offs,” said Whitney.

“We’ve built up some momentum and we’ve got two games to try to finish at Wembley, where we can put a few ghosts to rest from last year.

“It would be quite special to go to Wembley with my family with everyone watching. I think we’d probably take even more fans than last time.

“It’ll be a difficult task against Barnsley in the semi-finals but the idea of playing at Wembley again should drive us on.

“We were really disappointed with the way we played last year – we really didn’t turn up – but we won’t let that happen this year.

“We’re hoping we get the opportunity to go back there and put it right.”

Whitney is fully aware that Paul Heckingbottom’s Barnsley will provide a stern semi-final test – but insists they won’t find it easy either.

“They’re a good team but so are we,” he said. “We’re in the play-offs for a reason and that’s because we’re consistent.

“They’re on a good run as well and it’ll be a really difficult game – as they always are in the play-offs – but they won’t be relishing facing us either.”

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