In the build up to Friday’s big match against Walsall, we have a closer look at our visitors
Clayton Ince first arrived in the English game back in September 1999 when Crewe Alexandra snapped him up from Delta Force and he went on to make 137 appearances in all competitions for Dario Gradi’s side, whilst also having a spell on loan at Dundee in 2000. His next move took him to Coventry City last summer, but after making just four starts during 2005/06, he was allowed to link-up with The Saddlers on a free transfer despite having a year left to run on his Sky Blues contract. A tall and agile ‘keeper, who is a fine shot-stopper, he has been named Caribbean Goalkeeper of the Year three times and has 63 caps to his name.
Craig Pead initially arrived at Bescot Stadium on loan from Coventry City on March 23rd 2005 until the end of the 2004/2005 season. A dynamic and lively player, the Bromsgrove-born defender is also comfortable in a central midfield role and has proved to be a useful and reliable addition to the squad. He will be hoping to play his part in a successful 2006/07 campaign for The Saddlers.
The Saddlers completed the signing of left-sided defender, Daniel Fox on a two-year deal in June 2005. The 19 year-old graduated through the highly-regarded Academy ranks at Everton where his impressive progress was rewarded with a professional contract in May 2004. Making an impressive start to his Football League career with some fine displays during the course of the 2005/06 campaign where he established a regular place in the side. He will be hoping to be able to build on that this term.
Anthony Gerrard signed on loan until the end of the 2004/2005 season on March 24th 2005 before making the deal permanent just weeks after the end of the campaign in what was a real coup for the club. A calm and assured central defender, he is strong in the tackle and comfortable on the ball. After being allowed to leave Everton at the end of the 2004/05 season, he turned down the advances of a number of other clubs in order to sign a two-year deal here at Bescot Stadium. His first full season for the club saw him scoop the Player of the Year award after putting in numerous no-nonsense displays
Chris Westwood is a proven performer who was keen to make the switch to Bescot Stadium despite Hartlepool’s attempts to keep him and plenty of interest from elsewhere, he is comfortable on the ball, imposing in the air and a great reader of the game. Endured a frustrating 2005/06 campaign that culminated with a red card in the penultimate home game of the season. However, after a good pre-season on the training ground, he is relishing the challenges that await this term.
Ian Roper completed his resurgence by signing a new three-year deal at the end of the 2003/2004 season, but suffered at the hands of suspension and injury for much of 2004/2005. However, he returned to the side in early February 2005 and was soon back to his solid best with some commanding displays in the heart of the back-line. Whilst the 2005/06 campaign ended in disappointment with relegation, Roper can reflect on a number of impressive performances after coming back into the side in late October and he remains a firm favourite amongst the fans.
Darren Wrack is a wide-player of undoubted talent and ability who is a popular figure both on and off-the-field, he has made a solid contribution to The Saddlers’ cause over the subsequent years and as a result has been subject of plenty of interest from other clubs. On his day, he can be a key player for The Saddlers.
Michael Dobson is a naturally fit, tough-tackling and whole-hearted player who spent some time on loan at runaway Championship leaders, Reading last season. Dobson became Richard Money’s third summer signing.
Martin Butler made a dramatic return to Bescot Stadium in a free transfer switch from troubled Rotherham United, signing a two-year deal as from July 1st 2006. Butler returns to Bescot Stadium determined to get the goals to take us back into League One.
Former Wrexham player Hector Sam hails from Trinidad & Tobago, impressed during a trial spell and put pen to paper on an initial one-year deal with a further year option. A lively striker, who possesses undoubted talent and ability, he was signed by Wrexham for £125,000 from San Juan Jabloteh during the summer of 2000 and immediately became a firm favourite amongst the supporters of the Welsh club. Sam joins fellow countryman, Clayton Ince in the Walsall squad.
Tony Bedeau is capped at International level by Grenada, he had a brief loan spell at Barnsley in February 2002 and turned down a number of clubs, some from a higher level, to sign for The Saddlers.
Dean Keates is a local lad who jumped at the chance to return to his beloved Saddlers last term, he soon took over the captain’s armband and put in some hard-working displays in the engine room of the side.
Mark Wright progressed through the Walsall ranks, he is a highly-thought-of player who is an attack-minded wide-man but can also play at full-back if required. He figured regularly throughout 2005/06 and weighed in with two goals, his first of which against Nottingham Forest being on the short-list for the Goal of the Season award.
Kris Taylor is a highly-rated local youngster who was plucked from Wolves by Manchester United as a 14 year-old and went on to develop well through the ranks at Old Trafford, gaining England caps at various youth levels before stepping into the reserve team. Agreed a new two-year contract towards the end of 2004/2005, but after starting the following campaign as a first-team regular, he was allowed to re-join Nationwide Conference outfit, Burton Albion on loan until the end of the season in January 2006. He returned to Bescot Stadium to figure in our final game of the 2005/06 season and will be looking to add some consistency to his displays this term.
Mark Kinsella was a key signing for The Saddlers, his quality and vision proved to be important ingredients in the engine room of the side during his early days at the club, however an ankle ligament injury picked up in training in February 2005 halted his progress just as he was enjoying some of his best displays for The Saddlers. Keen to get into the coaching side of the game, he assisted with the reserve team towards the end of the 2004/05 campaign and saw these duties extended last term. He will be working closely with new manager, Richard Money throughout 2006/07 and also hopes to be able to figure more out on the field.
Allan Picken has made an impressive Saddlers’ debut in our opening day victory at Rochdale.
Carlos Fangueiro moved to England following a spell with Uniao Leiria, from where he was signed by Millwall a year ago. Standing at 5’9′ tall, he has also attracted recent interest from Championship outfit, Plymouth Argyle but put pen to paper on a deal here at Bescot Stadium.
James Constable is a raw talent, he is earning his trade all of the time and it is hoped that he can establish a regular starting place in 2006/07.
Ishmel Demontagnac is a player of undoubted talent and ability who has progressed well in the youth team during the past couple of seasons. 2006/07 is going to be a big season for the youngster as he looks to cement a regular starting berth for both club and country.
Rene Gilmartin is a tall and commanding goalkeeper, he has progressed well in a short space of time and was given the necessary clearance to allow him to be used as back-up goalkeeper for the first-team, sitting on the bench for the first time against Swansea City on Saturday, August 27th. Expected to carve out a good career for himself in the game if he continues to work hard and take on board what he is told, he earned International recognition for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s in May 2006 and saved a penalty on his full debut.
Graham Deakin`s progress was halted early in 2005/06 when he picked up an injury that prevented him making the expected impact on the reserve team, although he did gain a taste of competitive action with a ‘work experience’ spell at local non-League outfit, Rushall Olympic. Allowed to link-up with Tamworth on loan on August 31st 2006 in a bid to gain much-needed competitive first-team experience.
Scott Dann spent the final months of last term on loan at Nationwide Conference North outfit, Hednesford Town before signing a new short-term deal with The Saddlers in May 2006 as he looks to start making an impact on the first-team.
David McDermott is a pocket-size front-man is seen as one very much for the future and after continuing his impressive form for both the reserve and youth teams in 2005/06, he was offered a professional deal in May 2006.
Mark Bradley is a hard-working, box-to-box player who has a good engine and a fine range of passing, he has the ability to arrive in the box late to score his fair share of goals and can reflect upon a solid 2005/06 campaign in which he skippered the youth team whilst also turning out regularly for the second-string and making a handful of fist-team outings. Also used as a central defender for the reserves during the past couple of seasons, his performances have displayed a maturity beyond his tender years and he is expected to carve out a good career for himself in the game if he continues to work hard and take on board what he is told.
Emmanuele Smith is a powerful and strong central defender, who has also been used in a midfield role on occasions. The former Solihull College student is one very much for the future.
Bertrand Bossu has previously served the likes of Barnet, Hayes, Gillingham and Torquay United before spending last season with Darlington for whom he made ten appearances as well as having a brief spell on loan at Accrington Stanley early in the campaign. A broken ankle halted his progress last term, but he is now back to full fitness and determined to push Clayton Ince for his starting place.
Who’s Who: Introducing Walsall
In the build up to Friday’s big match against Walsall, we have a closer look at our visitors