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Northern Saddler

Northern Saddler

It`s been a good week if you`re a Saddler. Two new faces have walked into the Banks`s Stadium and have penned one-year contracts, which is nice to see and yet bad at the same time. Rhys Weston and Carlos Carneiro appear to be the missing pieces of the jigsaw that we needed to start the season (squad-wise), as we now have a right back in Weston, capped seven times by his country, and Jorge Leitao`s best mate in Carneiro, who is also a striker, a position which needs plenty of depth after the axing of frontmen last term. However, I am now going to lower the mood. Why have they only got one-year deals? Ok, maybe a Portuguese frontman from Greece with no experience of English football would only warrant a season to prove his worth, but Weston is a proven performer at Championship level, as well as international level. His professionalism may prove him to be a success in the new white shirt with red trimmy bits, but we could potentially have another Dean Keates situation. No deal, therefore he leaves despite the fact we might want to keep him. Not good! It will happen if he plays well for us, it always does. Kevin Harper and Dean Keates are two main examples, and it`s down to the unwillingness to give put an extra year on people's contracts. We nearlt didn't have a manager this season because he was out of contract, but luckily he signed a three-year deal. That solves that problem. We need to tie players down. It may have something to do with the fact these players are over thirty, except Weston, but still, we need continuity to be more successful. We may have won a title with a team that was thrown together, but you have to be really lucky for lightening to strike twice (or really unlucky I suppose), as it's rare!

I would like to add my opinion to the confusion the news that Kevin Harper being on trial with League One rivals Luton Town and scoring in a friendly at the weekend. This was NOT the Kevin Harper that rejected us for a move back to Scotland, where he had signed a deal to play for Dunfermline Athletic last week. The Luton website clearly shows that a player of that name played for them during their friendly against Hitchin on Saturday, which the Hatters won 3-0. Even the Birmingham Mail got it wrong. It makes me laugh, because I actually believed the stories at first. However, then I saw the story was not true and I thought: he would never dare to double cross Walsall again. Imagine the abuse he would've had from the Saddlers fans, then there wouldn't be complaints over the lack of atmosphere. I support Harper's decision to go back to Scotland, as at least he won't be able to haunt us again!

Finally, the first first team game of preseason is this Saturday against Worcester City (3pm KO). It will be interesting to see what the team will be and how the midfield will shape up without Dean Keates for the first time after the last game against Swindon (we all know what happened there). It will also be fascinating to keep an eye on the transfer activity around WS1 next week, as more signings are expected, even though it may not be next week for sure (again in typical Walsall style). You can never tell at the moment what is going to happen. With the amount of ludicrous rumours on the net at the moment, expect someone to say that Walsall will sign Kaka on Friday (they already did with Shrewsbury). Let`s just watch the space and see what happens - as per usual.

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Writer:Saddler 13
Date:Wednesday July 18 2007
Time: 12:00AM

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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Scunthorpe 15 9 4 2 31 17
2 Bolton 15 8 4 3 28 7
3 Bradford 15 6 8 1 26 7
4 Sheff Utd 14 7 4 3 25 7
5 Bristol Rovers 14 6 5 3 23 3
6 Wimbledon 15 6 5 4 23 3
7 Port Vale 15 6 4 5 22 -2
8 Northampton 15 5 6 4 21 3
9 Rochdale 15 6 3 6 21 0
10 Peterborough 15 5 5 5 20 6
11 Bury 15 6 2 7 20 0
12 Walsall 14 5 5 4 20 -1
13 Fleetwood 14 5 4 5 19 2
14 Oxford 15 5 4 6 19 -1
15 Southend 15 5 4 6 19 -7
16 Millwall 14 5 3 6 18 -3
17 Charlton 14 3 8 3 17 3
18 Gillingham 15 4 5 6 17 -6
19 MK Dons 15 4 4 7 16 -4
20 Swindon 15 4 4 7 16 -4
21 Coventry 14 3 6 5 15 -4
22 Oldham 15 3 6 6 15 -8
23 Chesterfield 14 3 3 8 12 -5
24 Shrewsbury 15 2 4 9 10 -13
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