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New pro Candlin looks to utilise player and coach advice in Walsall senior squad

23 August 2017

Mitch Candlin is aiming to put the advice given to him by some of the senior forwards in The Saddlers’ squad into practice for the first-team before too long.

Candlin has signed his first professional deal at the club, running until at least 2020, having made six appearances for Jon Whitney’s senior side so far.

The 17-year-old’s debut came in front of more than 17,000 people at Bradford City’s Valley Parade last April, and Candlin would go on to make his first senior start on the final day of the season at the Banks’s Stadium against MK Dons.

Candlin has made the bench for every first-team game so far this season, looking to compete with the likes of Erhun Oztumer, Simeon Jackson and Amadou Bakayoko.

And Candlin said he has sought advice from those senior strikers, as well as manager Jon Whitney and coaches John Ward and Graham Biggs, as he looks to develop at Walsall.

“Yeah - they’ve been helping me on my body shape and stuff, telling me what runs to make,” said Candlin.

“That’s making me a better player and I’m starting to use that advice.

“I’m really excited (to have signed my first professional deal). 

“There’s some good players in the team so hopefully I can get some minutes and help them to win more games.”

Candlin has also been taking advice from his manager, with Whitney keen to see Candlin become a real influence in the box.

“He looks at me to get more of a hold of the ball and bring people into play,” said Candlin.

“He wants me to be alert in the box and get goals.

“I feel like if I keep working, hopefully, I should be good enough.

“It’s a long time (three years) so hopefully I can develop as quickly as I am at the minute.”

Candlin recalls his debut at Valley Parade in front of more than 17,000 people - and admits he didn’t expect to be brought on for club captain Adam Chambers late on.

“It was great in front of all the fans - perfect to make your debut in,” Candlin reflected.

“I thought I had some good touches on the ball. It was an unreal feeling.

“It was difficult - the defenders are big and strong so it’s challenging to win your headers against them, but I felt I did well.

“I was travelling with the squad and I didn’t expect to get on - so I was a bit shocked!”.

And Candlin also has a message for the supporters who have followed his progress so far and cheered him onto the pitch at Valley Parade and the Banks’s. 

“I’m excited. The fans have been great.

“I’ll keep doing what I can do, make the fans happy and hopefully get a goal.”

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