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Jon Whitney looking for Walsall to build non-league ties

By Joseph Masi | Walsall FC | Published:

Walsall boss Jon Whitney wants to build closer links with the region's non-league clubs in order to accelerate the development of his young players.

Jon Whitney

The Saddlers manager is eager to form ties with clubs in the National League, National League North and Evo-Stik Northern Premier to secure the right loan moves for his up and coming stars.

Whitney has already agreed to work with Stafford Rangers boss Neil Kitching.

The 46-year-old has also held discussions with Solihull Moors assistant Keith Bertschin and Kidderminster Harriers number two Matt Gardiner.

"We have got so many young players coming through and we need to improve the pathway to the first team," Whitney said.

"The likes or Jordan Sangha and Milan Butterfield have done really well in the under 23s but they aren't going to benefit massively by playing at that level again next season.

"They need to be playing on a weekly basis, ideally against men.

"I'm looking at a three tier system. I'd like to get ties with a team in the National League, National League North and Evo-Stik Northern Premier.

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"But football is all about trust. We need to know the clubs will look after the players.

"Likewise they need to trust us that if we recommend a player they will be able to play at their level.

"I fully appreciate they are playing for livelihoods as well so any deal has to be right for everyone."

As well as helping his own youngsters develop, Whitney says forging links with local clubs will also help the Saddlers monitor the best players in non-league.

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"It will help the other way as well," the boss continued.

"If there is somebody who is really standing out, John Ward (coach) will have the chance to watch them as well as our player who is out on loan.

"If we have ties with these clubs and one of them thinks they have a player who can make the step up then we will happily invite them to train with us.

"Building these relationships ticks several boxes."

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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