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Saddlers handed double fitness boost

12 January 2018

The Saddlers have been handed a double fitness boost ahead of tomorrow’s League One match with Oxford.

West Brom loanee Tyler Roberts and Belgian midfielder Flo Cuvelier have both missed recent games through hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

But boss Jon Whitney has confirmed that both players have returned to training and could be available tomorrow.

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

“Tyler has done all his work with the medical team and had his first training session with me yesterday.

“He has been out for nearly four-and-a-half weeks but we’ll see how he looks. He is definitely not ruled out for the weekend.

“As it stands, every player is fit and available for selection, which is a really good position to be in.”

With the Saddlers winless in five, Whitney concedes his team need a response against the U's.

“We can’t guarantee a result but we need a performance,” he added.

“In the Plymouth game, the performance was good first half but we didn’t take our opportunities. Taylor takes his chance and the pressure then builds.

“We’re still really close [to the teams above] and we’ve got two games in hand on some teams – but we’ve got to take advantage of those.

“All we can do is make sure we’re ready and work hard.”

One of the Saddlers’ best performances of the season came in the 2-1 victory at the Kassam Stadium back in September.

But Whitney feels Pep Clotet's side have altered their approach since then.

“They don’t take as many risks at the back now – they try and play in the right areas,” he commented.

“Whether that changes against us, I don’t know. We can only go off the players they’ve got and their last two or three games.

“They’re not as open at the back but they’re still a threat. They’ve brought in Branagan from Liverpool and have added a couple of others as well.

“Since their 7-0 drubbing [to Wigan], they’ve responded really well. They’ve won their last two [league games] and beat Charlton in the week on penalties.

“It’ll be a stern test but it’s about us and our players. We have to play with an energy, be brave, get on the ball and try to cause problems for them at home.”


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