Tom Bradshaw: Walsall will try hard to keep Wales international says Jon Whitney

Tom Bradshaw
Tom Bradshaw has scored 34 goals in 70 league appearances for Walsall

New Walsall boss Jon Whitney says he will do "what he can" to keep key striker Tom Bradshaw at the club but cannot "worry" if the Wales international leaves this summer.

Bradshaw, 23, scored 20 goals as the Saddlers reached the League One play-offs and has been linked with a number of Championship clubs.

"We're going to get teams coming for our players," Whitney told BBC WM 95.6.

"We've made our offers and I'll be calling our players to get a heads up."

Having kept hold of Bradshaw in the January transfer window, the Saddlers are braced for enquiries for the former Shrewsbury Town forward, whose hopes of making the Wales squad for Euro 2016 were dashed by a calf injury.

"I'll do what I can to keep him but if Tom moves on, I'll wish him all the best," Whitney said.

"I wouldn't worry for one minute because once he's gone, he's gone - I can't do anything about that."

Whitney, who was appointed on a permanent basis at the start of June, is confident he and his staff have the ability to unearth a replacement if Bradshaw leaves.

"It took me time to develop him and make him stronger and more robust for League One - I can do that again," Whitney added.

"I've got a good eye for players, so have (coaches) Dean Holden and Neil Cutler and we understand the young, energetic targets with huge potential that we're after.

"The sooner I know where I stand with players, the sooner I can go for my targets - it's a bit of a merry-go-round."

Whitney relishing the 'challenge' of expectation

After taking interim charge in March when Sean O'Driscoll left after just 16 games, Whitney steered the Saddlers into the semi-finals of the play-offs.

However, they lost 6-1 on aggregate to Barnsley over the two legs as The Tykes eventually went on to clinch promotion to the Championship.

Whitney knows the pressure will be on to mount another tilt at promotion but is not fazed by the prospect.

"It's not a burden, it's a challenge - that's why I've taken the job, it's an incredible opportunity," the 45-year-old added.

"Of course there's going to be expectancy but we need to have some realism - we may have to build and bed in some players again but I'm excited."

Jon Whitney
Jon Whitney won eight of his 12 league games in charge in the latter stages of last season

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