Walsall seniors to get a longer run-out against Aston Villa
Boss Jon Whitney will give Walsall’s senior players an extended run-out in tonight’s friendly against Villa.
Whitney opted to mix up his squad during Saturday’s opening pre-season fixture at Solihull Moors, with the Saddlers fielding a different team in each half of the 3-2 defeat.
But the visit of Villa to the Banks’s Stadium will see the manager name a strong starting XI, including many of the players who will be expected to feature when the League One season gets underway next month.
Younger members of the squad will be given their chance in tomorrow’s game at non-league Stafford Rangers. Whitney explained: “Solihull was all about coming off the back of our trip to the Lake District and Cassius Camps. Some of the lads were a big leggy.
“We wanted to get 45 minutes in them because we worked them hard on Friday. We knew they would be a bit leggy.
“But we got through it. Flo (Cuvelier) got another 45 minutes under his belt. There were lots of pluses but Tuesday will be a much more settled team.
“We are looking at giving players 65 to 70 minutes and there will not be as many subs.
“We have got a game on Wednesday as well at Stafford. It will be my main nucleus on Tuesday, my more senior players. And I will play my younger players at Stafford.”
Whitney has, meanwhile, vowed to continue experimenting with formations during pre-season. Having fielded three at the back for a significant portion of last season, the manager used four at Solihull and admitted he is eager to have as many options at his disposal as possible.
“It would be nice to be able to switch between the four and the three,” he said. “We have still got to work on that.
“But we always planned to go to Solihull and play a 4-4-2. After that we will see where we are personnel-wise.
“If we feel we are lacking in certain areas we will flip it to a three because we have got quite a few midfielders.
“So it’s something we will look at over the next couple of games and make sure we nail something down ready for our last friendly at Lincoln.”
After facing Villa and Stafford, the Saddlers then head to Chester on Saturday.
Whitney’s men host Albion next Wednesday at the Banks’s, before heading to Chasetown the following night.
They then head to Lincoln on Saturday week, July 29.