Walsall appoint Whitney as manager

Jon Whitney

Jon Whitney won eight of his 14 games as interim manager of Walsall following Sean O’Driscoll’s departure

Jon Whitney has been appointed Walsall manager on a three-year deal after ending the 2015-16 season in interim charge of the League One club.

The 45-year-old took charge in March following the departure of Sean O’Driscoll after just 16 games.

Whitney guided the Saddlers to third in League One and a play-off place, only for them to be beaten by eventual winners Barnsley in the semi-final.

Former Walsall defender Dean Holden has been named first-team coach.

Holden joins the existing backroom staff of goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler and the vastly experienced John Ward, who remains their professional development coach.

Whitney – who spent his playing career as a defender with Huddersfield Town, Wigan Athletic, Hull City and Lincoln City – first joined Walsall in 2003 as a physiotherapist, before becoming part of former boss Dean Smith’s coaching team.

“I’ve been at the club for over 13 years now,” said Whitney. “I’m extremely proud that Walsall have given me my first permanent position in football management.

“It’s about finishing the job and creating a sense of unity, not just in the squad but together with the fans and everyone connected with the club so we can all push on together.”

Chairman Jeff Bonser added: “Jon is the right man for the job. He knows the inner workings of the club and has all the relevant knowledge and experience to take the club forward.”

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