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Walsall ramp up keeper hunt

Jon Whitney has revealed Walsall are in talks to sign a new goalkeeper with the boss also hopeful Liam Roberts will be his number two next season.

Jon Whitney
Jon Whitney

The Saddlers are on the hunt for a new glovesman with out-of-contract Neil Etheridge expected to turn down a new three-year deal currently on the table.

Whitney has also offered a contract extension to Roberts who enjoyed a successful loan spell at National League outfit Chester last season.

And the boss is hoping the 22-year-old will compete with the new addition to be the Saddlers number one next year.

"I'm in talks with a keeper at the moment," Whitney said.

"I'm looking to bring in one and we have also offered a deal to Liam Roberts – who we see as being part of the squad next year.

"We have offered Liam the chance to be number two and continue his development under (goalkeeping coach) Neil Cutler.

"He went out on loan last season, he developed and we feel this is a chance Liam deserves.

"We also had (coach) Ian Sharps see him first hand when he was at Chester last season and his reports on Liam were really positive.

"He is a young keeper who is developing all aspects of his game and we have really high hopes for him."

While having the final say on any signings made, Whitney said assistant Cutler has identified potential keepers for next season.

The 40-year-old, who turned out for Villa, Stoke and Rotherham in his playing career, is now widely seen as one of the best goalkeeping coaches in the country having transformed the careers of recent number ones Richard O'Donnell and Etheridge.

"Both Neil and I look at everything together but goalkeepers are his speciality," Whitney continued.

"He has got an idea about every keeper in the country and is consistently assessing them and looking at the ones he believes he can work with and improve.

"He will, of course, have a very big say in who we bring in."

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