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Walsall have the edge over Sheffield United says Jon Whitney

Sport | Published:

Walsall boss Jon Whitney believes his charges have a psychological advantage ahead of their clash with League One high-fliers Sheffield United at Bramall Lane tonight.

The Saddlers are 17th going into the 7.45pm game, while the Blades would move up to second with a victory.

But Whitney pointed towards the 2-1 victory against Chris Wilder's side in the Checkatrade Trophy on October 4 and said: "They are a good team and they are 15 unbeaten now but over the last two months I think we are the only team to beat them.

"I know it was in the Checkatrade Trophy, but they still had some of the players who are going to be playing.

"Psychologically, that is important for my players – we have been there and beaten them. It was a really good performance on the night and we are looking for much of the same.

"I am quietly confident we can go and cause them a few problems – we can be quite dangerous."

Kevin Toner, who was replaced by Matt Preston at half-time in the 0-0 draw with Southend on Saturday, is fit for the game and Whitney said: "It is just a fatigue element.

"I think it was just a game too far for Kev and that's part of the process and why Matt (Preston) is there to cover if needed. He is available and it is nothing long-lasting."

Florent Cuvelier and Franck Moussa were left out of the squad against the Shrimpers.

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On whether they will return, Whitney said: "It's difficult now. I can only pick seven for the bench and dependant on each game it will change.

"Tactically, people have to miss out but you have to make sure you are ready when called upon."

The boss insists it is a case of looking up the table, rather than over their shoulders, and added: "I am an optimist.

"Would I rather be in the top six? Of course I would. Would life be easier? Of course it would. Am I up for the challenge? Of course I am, and so are my players."

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