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PRESTON READY TO BATTLE

24 February 2017

Centre-back relishing the prospect of a physical battle...

Defender Matt Preston is relishing the Saddlers' clash with AFC Wimbledon tomorrow.

Jon Whitney's men have been in fine form of late, losing only one of the last eight games to move to within six points of the play-offs.

Neal Ardley's Dons - who we beat 3-1 on the season's opening day - are just two places below the Saddlers in 14th but are winless in six.

The hosts will no doubt test our defence, with strikers Lyle Taylor and Tom Elliott both over six feet tall - but Preston is looking forward to the prospect of a physical battle.

He said: “As a centre-half you’ve got to relish that sort of thing. You’ve got to try and do your best to win your balls and nullify their threat. 

“It’s going to be a tough one but I always feel like we’ve got enough ability in the team. If we keep a good shape and stay compact then we’ll get a result.” 

Preston has experienced heads around him in the dressing room, and believes they are proving key in his development as a footballer. 

The Saddlers defender was part of the side that beat Peterborough at the weekend, and has featured in an unchanged back three for the last eight games. 

“I think that’s a big part of it”, said Preston. “I’ve got the experience of people like Jimmy (O’Connor) and Lairdy (Scott Laird). 

“They can show you the rights and wrongs and every game it’s about learning and trying to improve yourself. 

“Playing gives you confidence and confidence is everything in football. I’m quite confident at the moment because I’m playing games.” 

Whitney’s side have been particularly resolute on the road, claiming four clean sheets in the last six away games. 

And Preston is enjoying playing alongside James O’Connor and Eoghan O’Connell in the Saddlers’ back three. 

“I feel like it suits us," he added. We can play out from the back but we’re solid as well which is definitely a positive. 

“You get more responsibility in a three when you’re defending because you have to think about more things, but it gives you the license to do more when you’ve got the ball. 

“When we’re playing I don’t feel like we’re going to concede at any point which is a huge positive.”

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