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4 November 2016

Boss to field a strong team against Macclesfield...

Jon Whitney wants his side to “continue the momentum” as Walsall prepare to take on non-league Macclesfield in the FA Cup first round. 

The Saddlers have been in excellent form of late and are unbeaten in six heading into tomorrow’s match, having also lost just once in ten. 

Walsall reached the FA Cup fourth round last season – beating Fleetwood, Chesterfield and Dean Smith’s Brentford en route, before losing to Championship outfit Reading. 

And Whitney, who has promised to field a “really strong team” tomorrow, would like to go even further in this year’s competition. 

“I have got some great memories of the FA Cup,” said Whitney. “For me, it’s a prestigious and important cup competition and I will be doing everything I can to get my players ready. 

“I do not want an upset at the Banks’s and I’d love a run in the FA Cup. I want to continue the momentum, I don’t want a loss. We will be looking to continue this fine run we’re on. 

“It will be nice after Saturday’s game for people to not be talking about our result – because that will mean we have got through. 

“Last year I enjoyed it, we went to Reading but I don’t think we gave a good account of ourselves and we went out with a bit of a whimper. 

“It will be great if we can get that far again or even further and I’ll be looking to put a really strong team out against Macclesfield. 

“My staff and I understand what a great competition this is. And if you can go as far as you can, then that is a great achievement.” 

John Askey’s Macclesfield booked their place in the FA Cup first-round proper after thrashing North Ferriby 4-1 in the fourth qualifying round. 

The Silkmen currently sit tenth in the National League, four points adrift of the play-offs, and Whitney insists Walsall won’t be taking them lightly. 

“It will be a difficult game because the pressure is off them and they have the underdog status,” he added. 

“They are a dogged team but they have got some flair as well. They have experience mixed with a bit of youth so they are dangerous. They’re a good, strong team. 

“The expectancy levels things out a little bit and that is why you get a lot of upsets in the cup. 

“It’s all about mindsets, and my players understand that. Even in the Checkatrade Trophy – there has been a consistency to what we do. 

“We want to enjoy playing football and this is another game. We carry the same values forward.”

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