Jon Whitney keen to keep hold of Walsall loanee Zeli Ismail

Walsall boss Jon Whitney has reiterated his desire to keep hold of Zeli Ismail but says he wouldn’t be surprised if Bury do recall the winger.

Zeli Ismail (Will Kilpatrick)
Zeli Ismail (Will Kilpatrick)

The 24-year-old joined the Saddlers on loan in August and over the past three months has become an integral part of Whitney’s side.

Ismail’s temporary switch to the Banks’s Stadium expires on January 3 meaning the New Year’s Day clash at Plymouth could be his last appearance for the club.

Bury were under the guidance of former boss Lee Clark when the winger was allowed to leave Gigg Lane.

But with Chris Lucketti having taken over – and with the Shakers bottom of League One - Whitney would not be surprised if his parent club want him back.

“I am going to do all I can to keep Zeli - I would love to keep him,” Whitney said.

“If I was Bury I would call him back. But we will do our best and I’d like to think that Zeli would like to stay as well.

“That’s no disrespect to Chris Lucketti at Bury. But I understand the position they are in. If I was Chris I would be trying to get Zeli back.

“Sometimes you have to take everything on board and do what’s best for all parties. It will be difficult to get a win-win situation from this one. But we will try.”

Alongside Ismail, fellow loanees Shaun Donnellan and Daniel Agyei also see their moves expire on January 3.

However striker Tyler Roberts, who is currently side-lined with a hamstring injury, will remain with the Saddlers until January 26.

And Whitney admits the Albion forward is another he would like to keep at the club until the end of the season.

“We have got Tyler for a bit a longer but while I can’t say for sure it’s unlikely he will be available for Plymouth,” the boss added.

“After that game we have got a 13 day break and that is when I expect him to be fully fit.

“But he’s done all his treatment with us. I know Alan (Pardew) had a few players in last week – all the loan players.

“Shaun went back, they had Jonathan Leko back from Bristol City just to have a look at them

"He will probably have a look at Tyler because he has got an attacking threat and pace.

“But I am hoping and I would love to keep Tyler. I don’t mind staying that.”

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