Jon Whitney: No guarantees Matt Preston will sign with Saddlers
Walsall boss Jon Whitney admits there is now “no guarantee” Matt Preston will stay at Walsall as talks continue with the defender over a new deal.
Discussions between the Saddlers and centre-back have been ongoing since the end of last season, with Whitney recently indicating an agreement had been reached to keep the 22-year-old academy product at the Banks’s. But things now appear very much back in the balance and there is an increasing likelihood Preston will officially become a free agent next week with his future still undecided.
Despite training with the club during pre-season, he has not featured in the Saddlers past two friendly matches against Chester and Albion.
Whitney said: “Matt’s contract is up on Monday. We are still in negotiations to see if we can do something but nothing is guaranteed yet.
“He is still about the club but we are still negotiating to see if we can do something. The key thing is he has done all of pre-season. The kid is fit.
“It’s just a matter of seeing of we can come to an agreement. We are working on things but have not come to an agreement yet with Matty.”
Continued uncertainty over Preston and a hip injury to James O’Connor means the Saddlers are currently short on defensive reinforcements.
O’Connor has undergone further scans this week but while Whitney does not expect the 32-year-old to require surgery, he will not be ready for the League One opener at Bury on Saturday week.
The Saddlers visit Lincoln, where Whitney made more than 100 appearances as a player, for a pre-season friendly tomorrow. The Imps were promoted back to the Football League last season.
Whitney said: “As soon as I was planning pre-season I contacted them early. I thought they would go up.
“We like to play a League Two team for the final game. It is probably one of my favourite clubs.
“I love the city. You go to certain places and feel like you are going home in a way. I have fond memories. I am proud to go back there as a manager.”