Walsall boss Jon Whitney thrilled to have Florent Cuvelier back
Walsall boss Jon Whitney has expressed his delight in seeing Florent Cuvelier shine on his return to the first team.
The Belgian midfielder had been out with a calf injury since October and was one of the standout performers as the Saddlers beat Scunthorpe 1-0 on Saturday.
Whitney hopes Cuvelier – who has struggled with several injuries in the past couple of years – can play a key role for them in the second half of the season, but has warned not to expect too much too soon.
“We’ve had to be patient with him, but you can see what Flo has got,” said the Walsall chief.
“The nice stuff, especially against their midfield, was that he competed and scrapped when he needed to.
“We all know Flo can play, but I just like the fact he had a smile on his face before the game, during it, and when he came off.
“It’s nice to see Flo back. We have to manage him, that’s what I have to do.”
Prior to his start against the Iron, Cuvelier played a couple of games for the club’s development squad.
Whitney – who was physio during the 25-year-old’s first spell with the club, through 2012 and 2013 – will keep monitoring him closely.
“I have known Flo a long time, from when I was physio as well, and I know how to manage Flo,” said Whitney.
“I’ll do my best to try to keep him playing games as he’s important for us.
“After his game at Rugby (Town, for the development squad last week), it was always my plan to try to put him back in.
“And Reece Flanagan did well when he came on for him (in the 74th minute), very good.
“He was disappointed not to start, but he was excellent when he came on.”
On the game, which was won via Kieron Morris’s deflected strike in the first half, Whitney added: “We played when we could, we played over their press – we know they are a really high-energy team.
“We were disappointed with going out of the Checkatrade Trophy to Bury, but the performances have been good.
“The lads had been outstanding during the week, probably the best they have trained all season, so there was good ingredients. You knew you were going to get a performance out of them.”