All Change: Rundown of All the New Recruits!
So another pre-season is coming to a close at The Banks's Stadium and it has been a pretty busy for transfer activity.
First there was Birmingham born 26-year-old left back Mat Sadler, with a wealth of experience for a lad of his age including some top flight football he has a good foundation for success at the Saddlers. He certainly has the determination and spirit to play, as he played every minute of football whilst on loan at Shrewsbury Town last season. Sadler is definitely going to be tough to shake from the first team if his performance against Aston Villa in the pre-season friendly is anything to go by. He gave as good as he got in a spell that pitted him against Villa youngster Marc Albrighton.
Just a day later uber-versatile wing-man Kevan Hurst put pen to paper for The Saddlers. The 25 year old ex Sheffield United and Carlisle United man has already looked promising in the pre-season. Hurst would be a useful signing for any club at this level as he likes to attack players, push to the line, can play anywhere in the midfield or up front and he even played at left-back for Carlisle.
Next up was striker Ryan Jarvis, having fallen out of favour at Leyton Orient the 24 year old put his pen to paper for The Saddlers on the 30th of June. Once a hot prospect at Norwich, Jarvis whom Dean Smith knows already having worked together previously, has scored some important goals over the course of his career. Jarvis will though have his work cut out to win himself a first team spot this season with plenty of competition for the front-man spot, with Jonny Macken, Will Grigg and Jamie Paterson amongst others looking sharp.
The Saddlers' next new arrival was skillful Frenchman Claude Gnakpa. This signing is an exciting one in my opinion as Gnakpa likes to run at defenders and is strong enough to hold off challenges, and having found the net 15 times from the wing last season, certainly knows where the goal is. He looked very skillful and explosive more than once, troubling both the Wolves and Villa defences at times during the friendlies.
30 year old central midfielder Adam Chambers was next through the Banks's entrance. The ex Albion man has a wealth of experience and his never say die battling attitude is sure to make him a fan favourite for the coming season. In the pre-season so far he has bossed the midfield at times, when in possession or chasing the ball, and grabbed a goal on our mini tour of Scotland, and is looking like a comfortable strong replacement for ex-Saddler Matt Richards.
When the Saddlers went to play our pre-season matches in Scotland, three trialists went along in the hopes of impressing Dean Smith, all of which impressed enough to earn themselves 12 month contracts they are-
27 year old defender who is comfortable all along the back line, but has quoted his favourite position as being at right-back. With a wealth of experience and a good knowledge of league one after spending two seasons at Colchester and his valuable versatility Beevers could very much be one to watch over the coming season.
Hungarian goalkeeper Grof was the next signing for Dean Smith. The young shot-stopper defied his relative inexperience in the second half, against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa by pulling off some saves that a 'keeper ten years his senior would have been proud of. Whilst unlikely to cement a first team place this season Grof looks like he may benefit from working with Jimmy Walker and could go on to be a very good asset.
24 year old American clearly impressed Dean smith as he became the third of the trialists to pen a contract for the club. Peterlin played reserve football for Everton after being spotted by one of thier scouts playing youth soccer (im kidding of course I mean football!). He was then picked up by Plymouth where he notched up 12 appearances before being released. Peterlin may not establish a first team role but I am sure we will hear his name again between now and the final day more than once and he will provide good competition in the Saddlers midfield.
So that is a rundown of The Saddlers signings so far and Deano has indicated on the clubs website that he may not yet be finished!
All I can say is
IN DEANO WE TRUST!!
Up the Saddlers!
Written by Lee Hale