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Whitney given food for thought

21 September 2017

Jon Whitney says Walsall’s performance against West Brom U21s has given him food for thought ahead of our trip to Oxford.

Second-half goals from Reece Flanagan, Zeli Ismail and Luke Leahy saw the Saddlers come from behind to beat the Baggies 3-1 in Northern Group E of the Checkatrade Trophy.

And Whitney, who made nine changes from the team that drew with Peterborough last Saturday, says several players made “a good case” to be involved this weekend.

“All you can do as a player is make sure when you get a chance you take it with both hands,” said the 46-year-old.

“Attitude, first and foremost, and then you can apply your ability after that. That’s how it has to be – and that’s what we’re trying to control through the club.

“A lot of them made a good case and we played with really good energy.

“You could see from the other night that we’ve got an attacking threat right through the team, with Kieron [Morris], Zeli, Ama [Bakayoko] and Dan [Agyei]. Reece did really well.

“I enjoyed the game and I think everyone who was there did. We played the right way and stuck to the game plan.

“West Brom had a young team but we had some young players out there as well, a couple of 16 year olds on the bench, so it was really good.”

Pep Clotet’s Oxford are three points above the Saddlers in the early league standings – and Whitney is expecting a tough test.

“It’ll be a big challenge – like every game is,” the boss added. “If we can get a result we’ll go level with them.

“Pep’s got them playing with really good energy. I know a lot of their players and I’ve watched them over the last couple of years so I know what to expect.

“We’ve got to concentrate on performance, keep our levels and standards high, and make it very difficult for them.”

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