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Whitney: Saddlers must handle cup pressure

3 November 2017

Jon Whitney says his side must handle the pressure of being favourites when the Saddlers visit Newport in the FA Cup first round.

The Saddlers sit 15th in League One, while Mike Flynn’s side – who miraculously survived relegation last term after winning seven of their final 12 games – are eighth in League Two.

 “The expectancy is all on us because we are the higher-division team, said the boss.

“We accept that. But at the end of the day we have to really relish and enjoy that responsibility.

“All you can do is go and try. We have to go there and battle for every inch on that pitch. If we do that hopefully we will get a performance and a result as well.

“The game plan is to go there, win and still be in the cup. We need to be in the draw for that second round. We have to cope with the pressure.

“We have had some really solid performances in the last few games away from home. We will be looking to emulate that and hopefully add some quality in the final third.”

Whitney is hoping the Saddlers can avoid an upset and enjoy a good run in this year’s competition, although he is anticipating a tough test against the Welsh club.

“We all want to have a really good run in the cup and we are determined to go down there and put in a performance,” he added.

“It’s England v Wales. It’s live on Welsh TV. It’s a 5.15pm kick-off. They will probably get a packed house of four to five thousand who will be wanting a League One scalp.

“It’s got great ingredients for an FA Cup tie.

“They make you defend and put it in your box as many times as they can. They have got some strength and a physical presence which a lot of League Two teams have.

“We have got to be ready for that and play to our strengths.”

Dan Agyei is unavailable due to the terms of his loan agreement, while West Brom loanees Tyler Roberts and Shaun Donnellan are both available.

James Wilson received a knock against Southend last weekend and is unavailable, as is Flo Cuvelier.

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