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Whitney provides update on squad fitness ahead of Gillingham

17 November 2017

Jon Whitney’s squad is feeling “good and fresh” ahead of our return to action against Gillingham tomorrow (3pm kick-off).

The Saddlers take on The Gills at the Banks’s Stadium, returning to league action for the first time in three weeks and playing for the first time in 10 days following that 1-0 win at Shrewsbury Town in the Checkatrade Trophy.

In the interim period, Whitney has been able to work closely with his squad and rest some players showing signs of fatigue while preparing more intense training sessions at the beginning of this week.

Whitney has been pleased with what he has seen from his squad in training and wants his side to take their application this week into Saturday’s game against Gillingham.

“Everyone is looking good and fresh,” Whitney told Saddlers TV. 

“We trained really well on Monday and Tuesday so we’ve got a good group in. 

“We’re looking to build on the last performance and see if we can get some points on the board and move up the league.

“We’ve rested a couple of the senior players and had chance to watch a few games as staff. 

“We’ve had a few intense sessions as well and worked them hard, and they’ve applied themselves really well. 

“We need to start stepping forward and putting a bit of risk in our play while having a bit of passion and enjoyment.”

Whitney has had almost a full senior squad in training this week, with the extended break due to last weekend’s postponement giving several players the chance to work on their fitness.

Luke Leahy took a bad knock in that Shrewsbury win, while Florent Cuvelier has been out with a slight niggle following the 3-0 win at Doncaster Rovers in October.

Both are pushing to be fit for this weekend’s game at the Banks’s.

“Flo is back in and has trained all week,” said Whitney.

“We know all about the quality he has - Flo just has to relax and train for a couple of weeks. 

“He needs some consistency to his season now but we’re quite confident we’ll get that. 

“Callum Cockerill-Mollett is still doing his rehab on his knee with no setbacks but he’s another four-to-six weeks from playing yet. 

“Luke is okay - he’s fit to play. He trained on Tuesday with Marc Czuczman, ticked all the boxes and he’s back with me now, so he’s pushing for a place for the weekend.”

Now Whitney is pushing his side to build another unbeaten run at home heading into the busy Christmas period.

The Saddlers had not lost at home all season up to the 1-0 defeat against Southend United three weeks ago.

“It’s always nice to play at home in front of the fans and we need to get back to building a run again,” Whitney added. 

“We’ve been solid at home - the performance against Southend wasn’t to the standards we’ve set ourselves. 

“We’ve got a benchmark now from the last 10 days where we need to take that forward, and if we take those aspects forward we’ve got a good chance and we can pick up some points.”


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