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Jon Whitney: New Walsall signings need time

Sport | Published:

Walsall manager Jon Whitney has called for realism as he prepares for his first full season in charge.

The majority of Saddlers players return for the start of pre-season training tomorrow, with Whitney holding a briefing session before fitness work beings later in the week.

The boss is currently in the middle of a summer rebuild with a host of stars opting to move on after turning down new contracts.

Whitney has bolstered his ranks by snapping up Joe Edwards, Milan Butterfield, Erhun Oztumer and Florent Cuvelier.

But he knows after just missing out on promotion last season, fans will be expecting to compete at the top end of League One.

"Of course there is going to be expectancy, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves," Whitney said.

"It is not a burden, it is a challenge. But I think we may need a bit of realism as well.

"The fact is, we have to build and bed-in some players again.

"If they bed-in and gel well who knows where it will take us. But we may have to be a little bit patient."

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Despite the note of caution, Whitney says he will go into every game to win it.

"I want to win every game," he said.

"I am always looking at the teams we will be playing against and thinking how can we outdo them and their tactics?

"It is exciting. There are no nerves, no anxiety, just anticipation with a bit of excitement and a desire to be the best we can be.

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"I will make sure there is no lack of effort. Sometimes effort is not enough, you need a skill set but I will develop that with my staff and my players."

Whitney does accept it is easier to have success with a settled team.

"There is a definite correlation that if you have a settled squad it helps you to be a lot more successful," he added.

"Last year we added three or four but we had the settled nucleus of a squad so we could hit the ground running.

"It will be different this year but we understand that and we will be ready."

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