Ian McLoughlin wants to be a No 1 while at Walsall

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Walsall are still searching for their No 1 hit but Ian McLoughlin is out to end the musical chairs.

The Saddlers' goalkeeping woes have become a broken record as their regular stoppers struggle with that difficult second season.

David Grof has failed to hit the high notes after a solid debut campaign, while golden oldie Jimmy Walker has fallen down the charts.

The Saddlers could make their own band after Aaron McCarey and Karl Darlow were drafted in from Wolves and Nottingham Forest respectively and trainee Richard Jones was included on the bench.

But, ahead of tomorrow's trip to Colchester, Milton Keynes Dons loanee McLoughlin isn't prepared to play second fiddle after his switch this month.

He said: "Walsall have had their troubles with their keepers. In the last few months the defence had two different keepers behind them and I don't know if they knew much about them.

"The chemistry you have between the goalkeeper and the backline is crucial. No matter where I go, I always try to cement a place.

"I have been on the bench a bit too long at Milton Keynes – although I've been playing for the Republic of Ireland under-21s.

"But now Ireland's finished and I need to start playing league games. You must start playing at my age.


"If I was at Manchester United on the bench then I wouldn't be happy, because I want to play games.

"If everything goes to plan and the gaffer at MK will let me stay – and the manager here is pleased for me to stay – then hopefully I will."

McLoughlin joined the squad just 48 hours before making his debut in the 3-1 win at Preston.

And the 20-year-old kept his place for the impressive 3-1 victory over Bournemouth last week which lifted the Saddlers to 10th in League One.


Bournemouth's 2-1 win at Hartlepool on Tuesday means the Saddlers are five points off the play-off spots.

And McLoughlin, who began his career at Ipswich, wants to prove himself after a five-game loan spell at Stockport in League Two in 2011 and just one league outing for the Dons.

He said: "I had a few options and I was going to drop into the Conference because teams are struggling with money, but this came up.

"There was a team in Malta interested as well but this is league football and a chance to prove to the gaffer at MK I can play at this level.

"He told me to go out and enjoy it. He's confident in me and said play with a smile on my face and get the experience.

"Walsall can mix it up so I knew what they were about – especially as they've beaten MK Dons twice this season.

"I was on the bench on Boxing Day, when Walsall won 4-2, and it wasn't a very good Christmas, but I'm happy to be here now."

The Saddlers are without the suspended Febian Brandy after he was sent off against Bournemouth while Richard Taundry is a doubt after turning his ankle in training.

Anthony Wordsworth is suspended for Colchester, who have signed ex-Walsall striker Jabo Ibehre until the end of the season after his release by MK Dons.

The 29-year-old had scored four goals in 15 appearances in a loan spell, which ended after Colchester's 1-0 defeat at Walsall last month.

The Us are on a club-record run of nine defeats – which has left manager Joe Dunne questioning his future.

And Dunne wants to emulate the Saddlers, after their win over Colchester last month sparked a revival.

He said: "What Walsall have done since beating us can be an inspiration. Walsall are a great example of what you can do in this league.

"You have to keep believing and once you get on those runs you can beat anyone, especially at this stage of the season.

"Although Walsall will be a tough task, I'm pretty sure that we can do it."

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