Matt Preston in it for the long haul with Walsall
Boss Jon Whitney is backing Matt Preston to play an integral role in Walsall's defence for many years to come.
The 21-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at the Banks's Stadium, has become a first-team regular this season with 21 appearances in all competitions.
Preston is set to retain his place for Saturday's trip to Bury after impressing in a back three alongside James O'Connor and Eoghan O'Connell.
And Whitney is delighted with the progress the youngster is making.
"Matty has really improved his consistency," the boss said.
"He's always had that physical presence. But I think it has taken Matty time to adapt to the first team because when he was a youth player he was always the strongest and the quickest.
"Now he has got to be that and also be good on the ball. But he is adding that dimension to his game.
"He has still got a lot to work on. Which we all have, me included. We all have areas we need to improve.
"But everything we tell him he takes on board. He doesn't beat himself up if he makes a mistake. He is becoming a dominant centre-half who is key to us moving forward." Meanwhile, Whitney is bracing himself for a late night on transfer deadline day as he continues to work to strengthen his squad.
The boss is believed to want to sign two players - with a winger and striker thought to have been targeted.
And he confirmed he is still talking to his targets.
"I'm still speaking to a couple of people but, like I said before, I will not be rushed into bringing people into the club" Whitney said.
"We have got lots of young players who I believe in.
"A week is a long time in football and in these windows things always tend to happen last minute.
"I've got to be ready. I'll be sitting up, getting a pizza in and staying in my office until midnight that day.
"We'll see what can be done. I'm not panicking. I have got a really good group. But if something is there that can strengthen us we'd like to get it done."