Walsall manager Jimmy Mullen says the development of his side during pre-season has surpassed even his own expectations.
A week before pre-season training, he had just 12 contracted professionals but the former Burnley manager has brought in several new faces, with the promise of more to come after Tuesday night’s 3-2 defeat by Aston Villa.
He said: “We have two weeks to get us properly prepared for August 9. We know we are not the finished article yet, but I am pleased with how the squad is taking shape.
“The fitness levels we needed to show to match Villa were high because they pop the ball round well. We kept our shape and our discipline, we worked hard on and off the ball, and for those boys who played the full 90 minutes it was tiring. It is the first 90 minutes many of them have had this pre-season.
“It is very pleasing that they have gone out there and played the style of football that we all want to see.
“The second goal was a great goal. The build up down the right hand side was superb. There was a great ball back by Ishmael Demontagnac and what a super finish from [triallist Patrick] Suffo.