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Whitney’s Walsall Woe
Walsall boss Jon Whitney has questioned his side’s desire to win promotion from League One after a 4-0 thumping at Bradford City haltered their run-in momentum.
The defeat left the Saddlers fourth in the table on 75 points, six points from automatic promotion but with a game in hand on third placed Millwall (75 points) and Bradford in fifth (74 points).
The Bantams dominated Walsall from the off and a 15-minute James Hanson hat-trick followed a Filipe Morais strike to consign Whitney’s side to their heaviest league defeat of the season.
“It was not good enough – I am not going stand here and insult the fans intelligence,” Whitney told the Express and Star.
“I have asked the players to have a look at themselves.
“I want to look at it logically. I want the players to go home and really ask themselves, did you really, really do enough to challenge Bradford?
“Did you do enough to want to get promoted to the Championship? Were you willing to put your head on the line because sometimes that is what you have to do in football.
“It’s not always about playing pretty football. We have to match them physically and we didn’t do it in the second half.”
No Party For Fergie
Darren Ferguson has insisted that there will be no celebration on his part should he manage to guide Doncaster Rovers to a great escape from relegation to League Two.
Doncaster sit 22nd in League One, three points from safety, with relegated Crewe Alexandra and promotion hopefuls Burton Albion their remaining opponents this season.
Rovers have seen a drastic upturn in form in recent weeks, taking seven points from their last three games – a points total that had taken 17 games to reach before their 3-1 win against league leaders Wigan, a draw with the Spireites and a 2-0 defeat of Coventry last weekend.
But, despite the reversal in the club’s fortunes, Ferguson says surviving relegation will not be a cause for celebration in his household.
“The fans and everyone at the football club would be delighted [if we don’t go down],” he told the Sheffield Star.
“But personally I certainly wouldn’t be having a party about it.
“We’d be absolutely delighted given the position we were in.
“But there’d be no celebrations about staying in League One.”
Money Tight For Ainsworth
Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth has declared that quality over quantity will be his recruitment policy in the coming transfer window.
The Chairboys have fallen just short of the League Two play-off positions this season, with a spate of injuries stretching a small squad in recent weeks to see Ainsworth’s side fall off with pace and without a win since March 25.
And despite acknowledging that a bigger squad would help his side’s cause next season, the Wycombe boss says that budget constraints have left him with little option.
“I don’t think it is possible [to increase the size of the squad] with the finances we have. There has been talk of trying to build the squad and start a development squad,” he explained to the Bucks Free Press.
“We are really trying but you wouldn’t believe the money involved and what it takes. If I wanted to have a bigger squad I would probably have to make sacrifices and go with untried, untested players.
“I think the fans would rather see a proven goalscorer, who is in form and has experience of playing in League Two come in.
“It is tough but we will do our absolute best to bring in the right personnel for next season.”
Sheffield Wednesday star Fernando Forestieri hit out against his treatment from referees this season with a satirical t-shirt that he wore before the Owls’ game against Derby County.
The talismanic forward has picked up nine yellows and two red cards in his 36 appearances this season, with three of those cautions coming for simulation in the last ten games.
The t-shirt depicted an image of a referee posing as a magician, asking a player to ‘pick a card, any card’.
The fashion statement came after Wednesday coach Lee Bullen claimed that Forestieri has been unfairly labelled a diver, after picking up another booking for simulation against MK Dons earlier this month.
“It is not a yellow card but the kid is paying for some sort of reputation. It is ridiculous. It is completely undeserved,” Bullen told the Sheffield Star.
“He’s not that type of player. He is probably one of the most fouled players in this league and it is getting frustrating.”
Paul Digby was delighted to make his full Championship debut for the Ipswich Town on an afternoon where he helped to keep a clean sheet against promotion hopefuls Middlesborough.
Digby, on loan from Barnsley, made three appearances for the Tykes this season before moving to Portman Road in January on a deal until the end of the season.
And the 21-year-old Sheffield-born defender was pleased with his showing against one of the best forward lines in the division.
“Jordan Rhodes is a top player and we’re delighted to keep the clean sheet,” Digby told the East Anglian Daily Times.
“I thought I did really well, there are obviously things in my game I want to work on and improve but for my first start I’m delighted with my performance.
“It was a big challenge because Rhodes’ movement in and around the box is different class and you have to stay with him and stop him scoring however you can,” added the youngster, who spent time on trial at Manchester United last year.
“It was a great test and I was just delighted to be playing.”
Bolton Chief: Fitness Key
Bolton Wanderers chief executive Dean Holdsworth has warned the current crop of players at the Macron to shape up or ship out ahead of the club’s first League One campaign since 1993.
Bolton’s relegation from the Championship was confirmed on 9 April with defeat at the hands of Derby County, and Holdsworth is already planning for a swift return to the second tier with the managerial situation still to be decided.
“I want to be the fittest team in the division, with and without the ball,” he told the Bolton News. “I want us to be the hardest-working group out of the whole lot.
“We’ll be testing them at the end of the season, then again in pre-season, and I want those statistics to show me that the players are ready to roll up their sleeves and show me we can compete at the top of the division.”