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Whitney anticipating tough Charlton test

26 September 2017

Jon Whitney anticipates a tough test against Charlton Athletic this evening but wants his side to continue their fine start to home life in 2017/18.

The Saddlers head into tonight’s game (7.45pm kick-off) on a three-match unbeaten run, with a draw against Peterborough United followed by victories over West Bromwich Albion’s U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy and Oxford United on Saturday.

Erhun Oztumer and Tyler Roberts netted there as Walsall took three points to lift themselves to 13th in the Sky Bet League One table.

With no fresh injury concerns from our 2-1 win at Oxford, Whitney is looking for his side to continue their unbeaten start to the season at home.

“Charlton have got a strong team with plenty of pace in there - Ricky Holmes is a really influential player for them,” said Whitney.

“They may have lost one or two through injury but they have got lots of players who can come in.

“They won four of their first five games and have been a bit indifferent in their last three - drawing one and losing two - and they’ll be looking to get back on form.

“But they’ll be wary of us and we’ll be looking to take our run on here.”

Whitney believes his players are relishing playing at home at present - particularly given their current run of form at the Banks’s Stadium.

Two wins and two draws from four home matches only tells part of the story - one of those ties was the dramatic comeback against Bradford, where the Saddlers came back from 3-0 down to take a point, coming close to taking all three towards the end.

Victories against Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic - both by a 2-1 scoreline - as well as last week’s 1-1 draw with Peterborough United have galvanised the squad when playing at home.

And Whitney wants the players and supporters to continue making the Banks’s a fortress together.

“There’s a spring in their step at home - especially when we’re attacking the Tile Choice Stand,” Whitney said of both his squad and the home faithful.

“It’s about mentality but it’s still a pitch, a ball and it’s 11 versus 11.

“We’ve got a real positive momentum around the Banks’s at the moment and we can take that on now.”

The manager was naturally impressed with his side’s performance levels in the Oxford victory, our first away win of 2017/18.

“We’ve mentioned the performance several times - if you get the performance right, you’ll get your rewards for it,” added Whitney.

“To inflict Oxford’s first home defeat of the season and to limit them to the few chances they had showed that the players executed our game plan.

“They deserve the credit for that and got their rewards.”

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