In the latest of his regular columns, Scott Brotherton takes a look at Walsall's latest recruits and considers their impact on the current squad.
In the latest of his regular columns, Scott Brotherton takes a look at Walsall's latest recruits and considers their impact on the current squad...

It’s good to see the squad taking shape ahead of the new season. There are some big boots that need filling after lots of players departed recently, so it’s good to see that the manager is starting to rebuild.

Deano’s first acquisition was a goalkeeper, Craig MacGillivray from Harrogate Town. But what was surprising was that the 21-year-old is not your average keeper, signed purely to make up the numbers. The young stopper has been chased by a number of clubs, including Premier League Newcastle United reportedly, and should be fighting Richard O’Donnell for the number one spot if his YouTube clips are anything to go by.

The second and most vital signing so far is that of James O’Connor following his release from Derby County. The defender seems like a long term replacement for Andy Butler and is a similarly experienced pro. He played over two hundred times for Doncaster Rovers before joining the Rams in 2012 where is career stalled somewhat and he was loaned out to Bristol City for part of last term. The signs look bright but one concern is a knee injury which saw him fall out of favour at Derby. Hopefully he can use this as a springboard to get back to full fitness and top form.

The most recent signing was striker Tom Bradshaw from relegated Shrewsbury. The young frontman has more experience than most 21-year-olds having made nearly one hundred appearances for Salop over five seasons, making his debut when he was just 17. Last year he scored seven times in thirty appearances and his goal return is improving each year, so he could be the new linchpin in the Walsall attack.

What will shock fans is that the Saddlers actually paid a transfer fee for Bradshaw, something they haven’t done in years, and also splashed out on compensation for MacGillivray too.

Hopefully the boss will bolster the attacking options further before the start of the season, mainly in the wide areas. Even if he wants to give James Baxendale and Kieron Morris more prominent roles in the team, we still need at least a few squad players. A few more strikers wouldn't go amiss either with only Sawyers, Bradshaw and Bakayoko on the books at present.

By: Scott Brotherton.

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