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WHITNEY: BUILD ON BLADES PERFORMANCE

20 January 2017

Bristol Rovers our visitors to the Banks's tomorrow...

Jon Whitney wants his team to build on the performance against Sheffield United with another strong showing against Bristol Rovers tomorrow. 

Goals from Amadou Bakayoko, Jason McCarthy, Joe Edwards and Erhun Oztumer earned the Saddlers an emphatic, and richly deserved, 4-1 win against the table-topping Blades. 

The Saddlers are back on home soil again this weekend, with Darrell Clarke’s Bristol Rovers our visitors. 

The Pirates secured back-to-back promotions last season and have enjoyed a solid campaign to date, sitting ninth with 39 points – four off the top six. 

Whitney knows the Gas will pose a real threat but says it is imperative his side back up the Sheff Utd display.

“The performance against Sheffield United was fantastic,” said Whitney. “We have kept it ticking over this week, but it means nothing if we don’t back it up with a performance. 

“If we can get a win, it can push us into that top 10 which would be a great place to be. 

“Bristol can beat teams three or four nil. But they have also been on the end of some big defeats as well. 

“They have vulnerabilities, but they also have some real strengths, I can see where they get their goals from. 

“Matty Taylor is a threat, as is Ellis Harrison. But we are also a threat. It should be a very good game.” 

There was nothing to separate the two sides at the Memorial Stadium back in September, the match finishing in a keenly-contested 1-1 draw. 

Erhun Oztumer’s 16th-minute curler put the Saddlers ahead, but Rovers top scorer Matty Taylor equalised with a hotly-disputed penalty 11 minutes later. 

“I think we have improved since that game,” Whitney added. “I felt we should have had one, if not two penalties in that fixture. 

“But they put us under pressure late on, I think they had 15 corners in the last 25 minutes. 

“But our squad has improved and the staff has improved since then. We are a stronger unit now.

“Bristol Rovers are in a good position in the league and I think, being honest, their gaffer will be happy with that having come up last season. 

“They have come a long way in just a couple of seasons and I think at the end of the campaign, they will be there or thereabouts – flirting with the play-offs. Hopefully we will be there flirting with them.”

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