It came as something as a surprise last night in the pre season friendly at Stafford Rangers last night, when a trialist turned up in the left back slot. It came as something of a surprise as well, when it turned out to be the former Derby man, Paul Boertien.
The Northumberland born left back was bought by Derby from Carlisle in 1999 and made a breakthrough into the first team the following year, when the side had a spell of injuries and he made the left back slot his own for a while. Boertien then, however, suffered from an unlucky run of injuries between 2004 and 2006 which saw him a virtual ever present in the treatment room. He made his return to the first team after almost two years in a 2-1 victory over Hull City in August 2006.
An injury sustained during the Boxing Day defeat to Wolves, coupled with the signing of Blackburn Rovers James McEveley, saw Boertien slip to third choice left back and manager Billy Davies announced his his contract would not be renewed at the end of the season, after over eight years at Pride Park.
Since then, he has been looking for a club and had a trial spell with Oldham, but they didnâ€™t make him an offer.
He is 5 foot 10 and seems to have been highly rated by the Derby fans when he was there. Like Walsallâ€™s full back signing on the other flank, Rhys Weston, he will be looking to rebuild his career, in his case following a bad run of injuries, and could turn out to be an excellent signing. However, any such signing would call into question where Danny Fox and Ishmel Demontagnac would fit in.