Walsall today unveiled versatile Derby defender James O’Connor as their first summer signing.
The 29-year-old Brummie has penned a one-year deal and helps fill the void left by centre-back and captain Andy Butler, who joined Sheffield United last month.
An FA Youth Cup winner in 2002 with Villa, where he started his career, he was an integral part of Sean O’Driscoll’s Doncaster team that won the Football League Trophy in 2006-07 and promotion to the Championship in 2007-08, spending four years as a regular in the second tier.
Manager Dean Smith said: “We’ve signed an extremely reliable and solid defender. I played alongside him at Port Vale and he’s worked with Richard O’Kelly for a number of years, so we know the character he is and what he’ll bring.
“There were a lot of teams interested in him, but I’m delighted he’s chosen to come here. It certainly is a big bonus for us.”
O’Connor said: “I’m delighted to be here. It feels right and I’m looking forward to working under a bright, young manager in Dean and working with Richard.”