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Jon Whitney confirms Kevin Toner and Josh Ginnelly Walsall departures

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Walsall boss Jon Whitney has confirmed he will not be extending the loans of Kevin Toner and Josh Ginnelly.

Toner, who joined on a temporary basis from Aston Villa in the summer, made a total of 20 appearances for the Saddlers at centre-back.

Winger Ginnelly, who was snapped up from Premier League Burnley in July, featured 14 times for Whitney's side.

Both saw their loans expire after Monday's defeat to Rochdale.

And after being left out of the squad for that clash as well as the New Year's Eve trip to Oxford, Whitney confirmed both players will now be returning to their parent clubs.

On Toner the boss said: "I thought Kev did well when he came in.

"He's a really good lad and I have no issues with his attitude or on the training ground but I just felt we needed to look at a different option for the second half of the season.

"Matt Preston has moved on to the next level now and has become more consistent.

"We've then got Kory Roberts who we've seen can step in as well. So we felt it best to let Kev go back with our best wishes.

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"Whenever we get a loan in, we want it to be beneficial for all parties.

"He'll be wiser and stronger for the loan with us because I think it gave him a great insight into league football.

"Ultimately though, I don't want to block the pathway of our own players moving forward into second half of the season."

After becoming one of Walsall's first signings of the close season, Ginnelly had to wait until mid-October to make his league debut when he faced former club Shrewsbury in a 3-2 victory.

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And Whitney felt the Coventry-born 19-year-old, who the Express & Star understands is being monitored by Tranmere Rovers, did well to turn things around after a slow start to his Saddlers career.

"Quite early we were debating whether Josh would go back to Burnley but full credit to him, the penny dropped and he started to grow in confidence," the boss continued.

"His general attitude improved and he earned his place in the team for a run of games.

"I think we were waiting for him to kick on again but we need someone who was more productive in terms of goals and assists.

"I had to be honest with him and I couldn't see him getting match minutes.

"He needs to go and play more games, whether that's in League One or League Two.

"There's nothing but pluses for Josh. I'll give him a glowing reference but we just couldn't wait for him to push on.

"I think we need someone further down the line in their development but there will be clubs in for him I'm sure."

A statement released by Walsall Football Club added: "The club would like to thank Kevin and Josh for their efforts and wish them every success in the future."

Toner's departure means the Saddlers are now light at centre-back with many fans hoping to see Matt Pennington return to the club following a successful loan from Everton last season.

But while Whitney admits he is a big fan of the youngster, the defender is yet to recover from a serious hamstring injury picked up i n July.

"I speak to Matty quite regularly and he has had a really serious hamstring injury," Whitney added.

"He is still not back.I speak to Joe Royle at Everton all the time about him because I'm really fond of the kid.

"But he's not ready fitness wise. So Matty won't be coming back."

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