Express & Star

Saddlers re-build aimed at another promotion tilt

Dean Holden today insisted promotion can again be the target for Walsall next season.


The veteran defender, who has signed up for another year as player-coach, believes there should be a sense of excitement over what could be a significant summer in the tenure of manager Dean Smith.

Smith is looking to rebuild his forward line and find a replacement for skipper Andy Butler, who yesterday signed a deal to join League One rivals Sheffield United.

The Saddlers have challenged for the play-offs in the past two seasons and fell away badly toward the end of the last campaign.

But Holden is convinced they can again be in contention next year despite some high-profile departures.

"We have lost quality, there is no getting away from that," said Holden. "But you have to trust in the gaffer and (assistant boss) Richard O'Kelly.

"They have put together a couple of teams in the past couple of years which have gone close. They will be looking at where we missed out and trying to improve it.

"We missed out last year and it seemed like a damp squib. But for a long time we were well in there and it is a very fine line between where we finished up and getting to that play-off final.

"That is the excitement for next year, to put that right."

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