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Club News

Whitney: time to start turning draws into wins

13 October 2017

Jon Whitney has challenged his Saddlers team to start turning draws into wins ahead of tomorrow’s match with Blackpool.

Five of our 12 league games have ended all-square – the joint most of any side in League One.

And the boss knows in order to climb the table, we need to be picking up three points rather than one.

“It’d be nice to turn a couple of the draws into wins,” said Whitney.

“Over the years we’ve drawn a lot of games. If you can turn a couple of them into wins then you’ll find yourself higher in the table with a bigger points tally.

“But it’s important we don’t lose those games as well.”

Whitney concedes we must improve defensively if we are to start winning more games.

“We can’t keep giving cheap goals away,” the boss commented.

“That’s been mentioned in the press by some of our players and we’re not hiding away from that fact.

“We feel it more than anybody. All you can do is work hard like we have this week.

“We did a double session on Tuesday and have had some really good sessions on defensive shape and how we can be a threat moving forward but stay solid behind the ball.”

The boss believes discipline and defensive shape will be the key to keeping that elusive first clean sheet of the campaign.

“It’s important we’re disciplined and don’t give them free shots into our box or free-kicks in the final third.

“It’s becoming less and less of a physical game – the physical side is simply the distance run and the intensity of running.

“There’s not as much contact these days – it’s an interception game now. We have to make sure our shape is right and we’re in a position then to capitalise on mistakes.”

After a hectic Saturday-Tuesday schedule, Whitney has been pleased to have a full week to work on the training ground with his players.

“It’s been invaluable. You can show stuff in the video analysis but it’s not the same as going out and doing it at full pace on the training ground to make it realistic.

“It has to be done at full pace, with the intensity that is expected on a matchday. We’ve done that this week and worked on some of the areas where we think we can improve.”

The Saddlers will be hoping practice makes perfect when Blackpool visit the Banks’s tomorrow.

Gary Bowyer’s Seasiders won promotion from League Two last term and sit in mid-table, two points off the top six with a game in hand.

“Gary has done incredibly well,” Whitney said of his opposite number.

“He’s got a great mixture of youth and experience, and they’ve got some power and pace right throughout the team.

“They’re coming on the back of promotion and they’ve kept the momentum going.

“Even in the defeats against Bristol Rovers and Southend, I thought they dominated for large periods of the game.

“They’re a dangerous team so I’m expecting a really tough game.”

Adam Chambers and Florent Cuvelier are fit and available for tomorrow’s match, as are Liam Kinsella and Shaun Donnellan, who have returned from international duty.


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