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Dean Keates: Walsall missed out on marquee signings

Boss Dean Keates has revealed Walsall’s frustrating summer has seen them miss out on two marquee signings.

Dean Keates
Dean Keates

The Saddlers kick-off the 2018/19 season on Saturday when Plymouth visit the Banks’s Stadium.

Keates is working hard to bolster his squad before that game with a centre-back to partner Jon Guthrie desperately needed.

And overall, Keates admitted it’s been a frustrating summer.

“Ideally I would have liked to have got all signings done by now,” he said.

“We don’t live in that perfect world. There has been frustration with one or two where we have come close.

“There were one or two where I felt, if we could get them, they would have been a massive coup for the football club.

“One came down to location, somebody else came in for him and he’ll end up going there because it’s close to his family home. You can understand that.

“Another we missed out on, he’s got a possibility of going into the Championship.

“That is a little bit frustrating because I think they would have been great signings – marquee signings.

“One definitely isn’t going to happen and one we may have an outside chance going into next week. We’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Walsall have completed the signing of goalkeeper Joe Slinn – and immediately loaned him to Rushall Olympic.

The shot-stopper, who was formerly with Port Vale, has signed a 12-month deal at the Banks’s Stadium.

Slinn enjoyed a loan stint with The Pics last season and has now rejoined the Southern League Central side for the 2018/19 campaign.

“I am delighted to be a Walsall player,” Slinn said.

“Everybody dreams of becoming a professional footballer.

“The club are in League One and hopefully we have a big season ahead of us. The manager has been really supportive.

“I was at Rushall at the back end of last season, we had a good run and hopefully we can kick on again this season.

“It’s really important at my age that I am getting game time and getting more experience and I can’t wait to get back out there.

“I will be training with the first team squad here during the week and then going to Rushall to get my game time.”

Keates added: “I’ve had my eye on him Joe some time.

“Getting him out on loan straight away suits all parties because it means he can gain some valuable experience.

“He will be in most days with us, despite being on loan, meaning he will be in and around the squad and learning off (Chris) Dunn and Robbo (Liam Roberts).

“He’s got a competitive game at the weekend, which is great for him, and we know Rushall will look after him.”

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