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Saddlers set for Lake District trip

8 July 2017

Jon Whitney and his first-team staff will take the Saddlers squad to the Lake District for a training camp lasting from Sunday to Tuesday and the Walsall boss is keen to see the benefits it will have on his side.

The squad travel on Sunday to the camp, which will put the players through a series of physical tests designed to take them to their limits - both physically and mentally.

Saddlers.co.uk will be bringing Saddlers fans plenty of content to iFollow Walsall, YouTube and across our social media platforms from the trip, which Whitney was keen to get sorted for this summer.

“I was really keen to make sure we do this this year, so I pencilled us in quite early,” said Whitney. 

“For me it takes the players out of their comfort zone. It’s a little bit old-school but it’s very scientific as well. 

“There’s a lot of psychometric analysis. We’ll test the players physically and psychologically, which is the important bit, and we’ll be able to get a profile of each player as well.

“For me it’ll show us who has those leadership qualities going into the new season.

“For me it has to be more structured than that. 

“Until you really step in and be tested, and get bone deep, you can’t get that true character out of players so it’s important that we get them into that area at the weekend and see if we can get the benefits of it.

“They’ve got physical challenges and it’s all open-door, so there’s hill-running with different obstacles, log pulls and log lifts, and we’ll also a water activity. 

“There will also be a night-time activity plus other activities involved in cliffs and mountain bikes. 

“It involves tough, tough challenges - but it’s fun. At the end of it it really gels you together as a group and sets you up for the season ahead.”

Whitney is keen to get to know even more about the squad at his disposal ahead of the 2017/18 Sky Bet League One season, and believes the team-building aspect to their Lake District trip will be a crucial part of their pre-season preparations.

“For all of them individually, they all have got skillsets that we really like and that’s why they’re at the club,” added the Saddlers manager.

“The important thing is for us to realise that when it gets tough, we do it as a team. There will be times when some will be struggling but your teammates can help you through it, and that’s key. 

“It is individual-based but for me it’s getting that team collective - knowing that working together, you’ll achieve more than working on your own. 

“That’s the key message we’re trying to send and I think their mantra is they’re pushing the limits, which is similar to us. 

“We want to push the limits both within the weekend and this season.”

And Whitney believes his newest signings - defenders Luke Leahy, Jon Guthrie and Nicky Devlin and goalkeeper Mark Gillespie will relish the trip.

“They’re very humble players but very hard-working and very driven,” he added. 

“We’ve mentioned before that they’re at a really good age where we can improve them tactically and technically. 

“They’ve got the profile so now we’ve just got to see if their leadership qualities come through and help the team as a whole now.

"The new signings will all be okay! Mark Gillespie has done it before so that’s good for the lads to hear it from him. 

“Nicky will cope with it - he, Jon and Luke take anything you throw at them. 

“Everything I’ve done over pre-season they’ve done with a smile on their face. I don’t think there’s a bad word amongst them - so it’s a good group.”


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