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WHITNEY FULL OF PRAISE FOR RESILIENT SADDLERS

6 February 2017

Boss pleased with response to falling behind...

Jon Whitney praised his side’s resilience after the Saddlers came from behind to beat struggling Northampton. 

Second-half goals from Matt Preston and Erhun Oztumer overturned John-Joe O’Toole’s first-half opener to make it three straight home wins for Whitney’s men. 

The result came a week after the Saddlers battled back from two goals down to draw at Bury – and the 46-year-old has paid tribute to his side’s ‘never-say-die’ attitude. 

“It’s important to never known when you are beaten,” said Whitney. “You’ve got teams all over the pyramid, even in the Premier League, that when they go behind, their heads go. 

“That shows a lack of resilience, but we’ve got that here. In the past we haven’t come back from behind many times, but we’ve come back twice now in the last two weeks. 

“What’s good now is that if we do fall behind, the lads know they’ve come back before and that they can do it again.” 

We did ride our luck in the closing stages, with Northampton’s Marc Richards blazing a stoppage-time penalty over the bar, but Whitney felt we deserved our good fortune. 

“We knew we were going to come under a bit of pressure late on, and the fatigue from playing against Millwall in the week would come into play,” the boss commented. 

“The missed penalty was a bit of luck but I think the harder you work, the luckier you get. 

“I thought the lads, the way they have applied themselves this week – with an eight-hour round-trip on the bus to Millwall last Wednesday – deserved that bit of luck. 

“The back three were colossal again and we’re scoring goals from all over the pitch, so it’s a good place to be at the moment.” 

The Saddlers’ equalising goal came on 63 minutes when Preston slid in to convert Florent Cuvelier’s corner – and Whitney revealed his side had been practicing set-pieces in training. 

“We’ve been working on set-piece routines in training and doing sessions just on that,” he added. “You can see that the timing now is much better. 

“Before the Sheffield United game, we showed all the lads the set-pieces we’d had. 

“It wasn’t working before, but the lads though have taken everything on board and it was pleasing to get a goal from one. Hopefully there’ll be many more to come.”

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