Jon Whitney hints at new Walsall contract for Reece Flanagan
Jon Whitney has hinted Walsall will offer a new contract to midfielder Reece Flanagan as the youngster steps up his recovery from a serious knee injury.
The 21-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) back in April but is now out of the treatment room and back running.
Flanagan, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is highly thought of at the Banks's Stadium and has made 35 first-team appearances since stepping up from the youth ranks.
And Whitney admits he is delighted with the application the midfielder has shown while on the sidelines.
"He is on target to return around Christmas time or in January," the boss said. "His work ethic has been exceptional. And I will be looking to do something with Reece in terms of his contract because he has ticked all the boxes in terms of attitude.
"From the moment he picked up the injury he was determined to come back stronger.
"When I was injured a lot managers didn't use to speak to you. But I talk to the medical staff about Reece every day. It's important you don't become alienated. But he hasn't got that here.
"He is an important member of the group."
Having spent the past few months in the gym and treatment room, Whitney revealed Flanagan is now back out on the grass and working hard to prevent a similar type of injury occurring in the future.
"We are doing a lot of work to strengthen his knee to make sure we limit the chances of the injury reoccurring," he continued.
"Now he is starting to do his running. Late November he will be doing ball work and from there we will build him up.
"We won't rush him, but it would be great if he could play a part this season."
Meanwhile, Walsall have handed a trial to Derry City defender Patrick McClean.
The 19-year-old, who is the brother of Albion's James McClean, confirmed on his Facebook page that he joined up with the Saddlers squad yesterday.
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