After the recent stellar signing of Stephen Ward, I looked at the 2014 to 2016 Burnley squads to see if there were other rich pickings to be had.
Aside from Dan Agyei (24) and unrealistic signings like Jutkiewicz (32) and Vokes (31), no one within Walsall’s budget really stood out, in terms of players from the first team.
However, two names stood out for very different reasons…
Firstly, midfielder Michael Duff, now manager of Cheltenham. How many times, last season, did Pomlett mention ‘a young manager achieving success whilst working on a shoestring budget in league two’? Coincidence?
Secondly, another combative midfielder by the name of Joey Barton. I’d be fascinated to learn how he and Matt Taylor got on in the dressing room and on the pitch…
My point is that Walsall have far more pedigree than Cheltenham, who are now in league one, whereas, I see Bristol Rovers really challenging in league two next season.
People talk about the ‘Matt Taylor’ derby v Exeter and the ‘grudge match’ with Port Vale. All will be important, but, for me, our results against Bristol Rovers will be a really useful benchmark to see how far we have come since the dark days of recent seasons.
Some very spicy (and spiky) fixtures to look forward to, methinks! Can’t wait!