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Jon Whitney promises Saddlers passion

Sport | Published:

Interim boss Jon Whitney has promised Walsall fans they will see a passionate team that's ready for battle in tomorrow's clash with Chesterfield.

The Saddlers travel to the Proact Stadium for their first game since the shock sacking of Sean O'Driscoll on Sunday.

They face a Spireites side who they have already played three times this season– with two of those games coincidently coming when Whitney was placed in charge following Dean Smith's move to Brentford.

And the interim manager has vowed to send out a team in keeping with Walsall's principles as he begins to stake his claim to become permanent boss.

"It's funny we are playing Chesterfield again – I feel like I know their players better than my own family," Whitney said.

"It helps. But Danny Wilson has come in and has given those players a bit more confidence.

"But I want my players to enjoy it, to revel in the fact we are going into battle in this game.

"We are going to do our utmost to upset their game plan.

"When I was a footballer, it was an absolute dream. It was all I thought about. I want my players to have the fire in the belly that I have got.

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"I don't want them just be happy to have the title of a professional footballer. I want them to have a career as a professional footballer. To be an Adam Chambers, a James O'Connor. They have got that longevity because of their habits, their work ethic their desire.

"We have got a great opportunity to really achieve something this season. We are the start of a 12-game mini season, so lets enjoy it and try to achieve something special."

The two teams go into tomorrow's clash sitting at opposite ends of the form book with Walsall winless in six and Chesterfield unbeaten in their last five.

But while the Saddlers have spent time analysing the opposition, Whitney wants the primary focus to be on what made them so successful in the first half of the campaign.

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"We have analysed Chesterfield thoroughly but in the successful teams I played in it was all about us as individuals and what we did as a team," he said.

"If we can get our game plan right, our work ethos right and get our individuals playing – it's going to take a heck of an opposition to stop us.

"We will give the opposition respect. We will respect Chesterfield.

"But they are going to have to be ready for a real battle."

Whitney confirmed striker Jordan Cook is doubtful for the game. The Saddlers are otherwise at full strength with the exception of long term absentee Isaiah Osbourne.

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