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WHITNEY THRILLED WITH GINNELLY PROGRESS

18 November 2016

Boss hails young winger's impact...

Saddlers boss Jon Whitney is delighted with the progress Josh Ginnelly has made during his time at the club. 

The tricky teenager initially found game time limited following his loan switch from Burnley, but in recent weeks he has really come to the fore. 

After starring in the 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory at Leicester U21s, the skilful winger was rewarded with his first league start against MK Dons last weekend. 

Ginnelly once again caught the eye, and it was from his pinpoint cross that Scott Laird headed Walsall in front. 

The 19-year-old also impressed with his set-piece delivery and Whitney has hailed his growing influence. 

“That is what I saw in him when we first brought him in,” said Whitney. “It has taken time for Josh Ginnelly to realise who Josh Ginnelly is. 

“It’s hard when you come from a Premier League club to be yourself and not try and compare yourself to these Premier League stars. 

“You see what football can bring you, in terms of the financial side. It’s important for Josh to realise that when you become a team member - and that is when you will flourish. 

“If you work for the team you will automatically then fall into your own skills set. 

“That is natural for him. He has to be off-the-cuff and instinctive. But there are certain times when you need to keep your shape and that is what he has done well. 

“In training he has started to realise he is going to make mistakes because of the player he is. All he can do then is react, get himself back into shape and put himself in which another chance. 

“He has settled in now and is well-respected in the group which is important. But I trust him, and I trust him defensively as well as what he can give me in the attacking half.” 

With Kieron Morris ruled out through injury, Ginnelly is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up for tomorrow’s match with Gillingham. 

Justin Edinburgh’s side sit 17th in League One, three points above the relegation zone, and suffered a shock 4-3 FA Cup first-round replay defeat to Brackley in midweek. 

But Whitney insists the Saddlers – who were held to a 1-1 draw at Priestfield when the teams met last month – won’t be taking them lightly. 

“I watched the game against Brackley and the win they had against Northampton, and I’m sure Justin will want a quick turnaround. 

“He will be working off the energy from Northampton when they scored that late winner, and we have to respect them for what they can still bring. There can’t be any complacency from my players. 

“They’ve got some good players, with Cody McDonald, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Bradley Dack, who was Player of the Season last year. 

“They’ll be a threat but so will we. We want to impose ourselves on the game and get the crowd on their feet.”

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