Isaiah Osbourne challenged to impress at Walsall
Isaiah Osbourne has been told he must prove his fitness if he is to be offered a new contract by Walsall.
The 28-year-old joined the Saddlers on one-year-deal last summer but ended up missing the entire campaign with a serious knee injury.
Osbourne has been invited to team up with Jon Whitney and his new-look squad for pre-season as he bids to prove his injury woes are in the past.
And Whitney has told the midfielder to grab the opportunity with both hands.
"Isaiah finished the season really strong last year but it is going to be along term thing with his knee," the boss said.
"It will affect him for the rest of his career. But I managed myself with injuries so I understand what is needed and also where he is coming from.
"I told him to come in for pre-season, and get fit.
"If something happens – great. If not, the worst case scenario is that I can say to someone Ozzy has been with us for five weeks. He's played a few games for us and he is ready.
"I need to look after him as a person and as a player because he is very respectful to me.
"I like him as a character. Everything is still open and we will see after three or four weeks how Ozzy is and what we can do.
"But I like him has a person and I like him being in my squad because I think he gives us something different."
Meanwhile, Whitney admitted he cannot wait to see his new-look side in action when they play Norwich in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday.
"Pre-season has been excellent so far – you always hope the players you bring in will gel together but it's like we have never been away," he added.
"That is so rewarding. I'm really pleased and really looking forward to the game against Norwich because I can't wait to see them play football now."
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