Saddlers thrash Vale 5-0 on final day...An upbeat Jon Whitney spoke of his immense pride in his Walsall players after the resounding 5-0 victory at Port Vale.
Anthony Forde netted twice, while Paul Downing, Tom Bradshaw and Sam Mantom were also on target in our biggest victory of the season.
Unfortunately, Burton’s goalless draw at relegated Doncaster meant we missed out on automatic promotion by a point.
Walsall, who end the League One campaign in third place with 84 points, will now face Barnsley in the play-off semi-finals.
“I’m immensely proud of my players, the staff and the fans,” said Whitney, who has won eight of his 12 matches since taking charge in March.
"I had my two boys in the away end and I spotted them in there bouncing and that feeling you can’t explain, especially being the manager as well – it’s just incredible.
“I’m really proud of my players – we spoke before about just controlling what you can control – and everyone is very upbeat in the dressing room.
“The way it’s turned out is the best scenario if you’re going to be in the play-offs. If we hadn’t done our job and Burton had lost, then that could have affected us for the play-offs.
“But we’ve built up momentum over the last three games. We’ve won this final today and now we’ve qualified for a bigger tournament.
“We’re two games from Wembley and we can possibly put a few ghosts to rest from last year.”
Walsall will travel to Oakwell next Saturday for the play-off semi-final first leg, kick-off 5.30pm.
“It’s good to have the away leg first and hopefully we’ll bring it back and fill the Banks’s and make it another memorable game,” Whitney added.
“We’ve been creating history this year and we need to create a little bit more. I’ll rest the players but we’ve got a great feeling about the place.
“Today, the atmosphere was the best I’ve ever known at the club. We’re going to build on that and keep it simmering and build for next week.
“But I’m proud of everyone for staying positive but now we need to keep believing.”