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Whitney hoping Saddlers can move a step closer to Wembley

1 December 2017

Jon Whitney is hoping his Saddlers team can move a step closer to Wembley with victory over Bury in the Checkatrade Trophy second round.

The Saddlers progressed to round two after finishing top of Northern Group E, beating West Brom U21s and Shrewsbury, as well as drawing with Coventry.

Walsall reached the EFL Trophy final in 2015 and Whitney believes his side – who have won back-to-back games – have a realistic chance of getting back there.

“Wembley is the end target,” said the boss. “There are several small steps to get there and this is the next step.

“We’ve been consistent over the last four games and results off the back of that really help.

“It’s a chance to get into the last 16 and a realistic chance for all of the teams that are still in it to get to Wembley.

“We still have to get past a strong Bury team. Chris Lucketti is hoping to cement himself as a manager and he wants his players to work hard, show some discipline, desire and impress him.

“He’s got a strong group to pick from and I’m sure he’ll be trying to get a bit of stability to push forward into the league form.

“They’ve got threats all over the pitch but we’ve got to concentrate on what we’ve got to offer and handle that pressure.”

With the Saddlers kicking off at the earlier time of 12:30pm, Whitney has adjusted this week’s training schedule.

 “We’ve tried to work on the body clocks,” the boss added.

“On Monday we had a late start and we started training at 12:30pm on Thursday to get them used to the routine, the sleep before and the food intake.

“We’ve planned everything we can and tried to keep their mindsets nice and fresh.”

Whitney confirmed that James Wilson is back in training following an ankle injury, while Joe Edwards – who has missed recent games with a hamstring strain – is rated as ‘touch and go’.


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