Jon Whitney: Walsall can make a statement
Boss Jon Whitney has called on Walsall to make a statement in the final 12 games of the season.
The Saddlers travel to take on Southend tomorrow looking to register their first away victory of 2018.
Whitney’s side head to Roots Hall following a frustrating week that has seen them fail to pick up points against Blackburn and Peterborough despite decent performances.
Individual errors in both those games cost the Saddlers dear. But Whitney says he’s seen enough positive signs to believe his team will end the campaign on a high.
“We have got 12 games left to really make a statement,” he said.
“It starts tomorrow. We have got an opportunity now. We want to win every game in this mini-season.
“I understand that is probably unlikely to happen. But we’re going into every game believing we have got a chance of winning it.
“We’ve had two defeats but we can take a lot from those games.
“We know we need to be a little more street wise at times. Yes we want to be a footballing team but sometimes you have to put your foot through it. But we want to take our second half performance against Blackburn and the positive play from Peterborough – where we played some really good attacking football – into Southend.
“Of course I would love more points on the board. But at least the performances are there for us to take into the weekend.”
Walsall have won just three games on the road this season. But Whitney is confident his team’s away record is set to improve.
“If we want to win more away games we have to keep more clean sheets,” the boss continued.
“We always create an opportunity. What we have got to do is try and reduce those individual errors.
“Yes we have are a young group. And they are learning the hard way.
“But they are a good honest group and if you have got that you will start to pick up more clean sheets and points.
“I can see this group going on to get several clean sheets in the remaining 12 games.
“I’m always the optimist but I’m also a realist because we’re producing some good passages of play. If we can just take away those individual errors we will pick up more points.”
Southend remain unbeaten under new manager Chris Powell with the Shrimpers legend having won four and drawn one of his five games in charge. And Whitney, who is confident the game will be on, accepts his team is in for a tough match.
“Southend play with a high energy, they play a direct style of football and they put you under a lot of pressure,” he added. “The weather may play a factor but I think the game will be on. They have got an army of fans going to clear the pitch for them. But we are looking forward to it.”