Express & Star

Jon Whitney set for Walsall talks with Matt Preston

Matt Preston’s Walsall future is likely to resolved in the next 24 hours with boss Jon Whitney due to meet with the player today.

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The defender, a graduate of the Saddlers youth academy, has made 41 appearances for the club since making his debut back in 2013.

Preston was part of the Walsall squad that has spent the past three days at an intensive pre-season boot camp in the Lake District known as Cassius Camps.

But he is currently out of contract with the 22-year-old yet to agree new terms despite his old deal expiring at the end of June.

“I am sitting down and speaking to Matty about his future on Wednesday,” Whitney said. “We wanted to get through Cassius Camps. That was always the plan. To get that done and then sit down and speak.

“We wanted him to come away with us and work really hard on his fitness.

“I’ll have more of an idea on Wednesday what I’m going to do with Matty.”

Meanwhile, Whitney believes the time spent in Cumbria will prove invaluable for some of the Saddlers emerging stars.

The likes of Rory Oliver, Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Kory Roberts, Tobias Hayles-Docherty and Milan Butterfield all made the trip to the Lake District for the camp which was focused on building team spirit.

And Whitney was delighted with how all his young players performed.

“What a pre-season it has been for those young guys,”he said.

“To be involved with that group is a fantastic experience for them.

“At most other clubs they would be part of an under-23 group. But with us they are with Adam Chambers, Joe Edwards, Jon Guthrie and Luke Leahy. There are so many leaders.

“But what we are trying to teach them is that they can lead as well.

“When they are having tough times on the pitch, I want them to look back at that camp. Remember how tough it was and then use it as a resource to really push on.

“We cannot take second best this year. We have to try and get those little percentage gains. That is what that trip will bring.

“As a staff we are really proud of the younger lads. The effort from them was incredible.”