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WHITNEY: FOCUS ON OUR GAME PLAN

13 May 2016

Walsall to face Barnsley in the play-offs tomorrow...

Jon Whitney has told his players to ignore any external influences and focus on their own game plan against Barnsley tomorrow evening.

Walsall travel to Oakwell this weekend for the first leg of their play-off semi-final against Paul Heckingbottom’s Tykes.

The South Yorkshire club finished the League One campaign in sixth place, ten points behind the Saddlers, who came third.

The aggregate winner over the two legs will face either Bradford or Millwall in a Wembley play-off final – with a place in the Championship at stake.

And although Whitney is well aware of the challenge Barnsley will pose, he wants his side to concentrate on their own job and ignore all the hype.

“Barnsley are a really good team, very organised, they stick to the basics well and they’ve got some good individual players,” said Whitney.

“Sam Winnall and Ash Fletcher are a threat for anyone up top and it’ll be a very interesting game between two good footballing teams who are also defensively sound.

“We can only play one way; we go to win games. We’re also not too cavalier and we don’t leave ourselves too open.

“The external influences change in the play-offs but coping with that is what our players are really good at.

"It’s about focusing on us, not on what is happening on the outside and that is what we did at Port Vale.

“It’s about our game plan and going out and doing what we’re good at.”

Tomorrow’s game at Barnsley will be Whitney’s 13th since taking charge in March.

The 45-year-old has won eight of his 12 matches to date - including the last three - and now he is potentially two games away from leading Walsall out at to Wembley.

“If somebody had told me I would have a chance of going to Wembley as a manager, I’d have said 'no chance’,” admitted Whitney.

“But I’ve got that chance now, although we’ve got to go and do a job against Barnsley. But even up to now it’s been great for me.”

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