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Dean Keates to weigh up options for Walsall starlet Mitch Candlin

Walsall boss Dean Keates hasn't ruled out a loan move for promising striker Mitch Candlin next season.

Mitch Candlin.
Mitch Candlin.

But while the Saddlers chief believes the 17-year-old could benefit from a temporary move away, Keates also wants to take a closer look at the forward during pre-season.

An England under-18 international, Candlin has caught the eye of supporters after scoring regularly for Walsall at youth-level.

After making his first-team debut in April 2017, Candlin appeared under Keates for the first time on the final day of the 2017/18 campaign

And the boss said the striker – and all Walsall's youngsters – will have a chance to impress him in pre-season.

"A loan for Mitch is a possibility," Keates said.

"But all the players will come back in for pre-season and the young lads will be treated on the same lines as the older players.

"It’s a case of keeping yourself ticking over.

"Pre-season when we start, it’s hard work. But if you're 40, 50, 60 yards behind everyone else you’re not going to help yourself.

"You have got to look after yourself through the summer.

"All the players have been given individual programs and they need to stick to them and come back and give themselves the best opportunity.

"Then when the fixtures come in for pre-season, we will go into games and if they get minutes they have to give themselves the best opportunity.

"If that doesn’t happen then we’ll have to look at the possibility of loaning them out to get some experience."

Meanwhile, Walsall's players will return from their holidays and find Keates has implemented a new fining system.

"I do want to make some changes to stamp an impression of what I’m about," the boss added.

"It’s just minor details, but I will implement my own fines.

"As every club do, they have their own fine system.

"But I will put different things in place that, from my side, I feel will help with the discipline and organisation on the pitch.

"That can start from what happens in training from Monday to Friday."

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