Russell Martin kept promise to join Saddlers
Russell Martin signed for Walsall despite interest from some of League One's biggest clubs after making a promise to manager Dean Keates.
The 32-year-old joined the Saddlers last week as a player-coach in a move Keates hailed as a massive coup for the club.
Martin, who was released by Norwich at the end of August, recently spent time on trial with Albion.
But he struck up a close friendship with Keates during their time together at Peterborough.
And despite clubs making a late move to lure him elsewhere, he had already promised his pal Walsall would be the only club he signed for in League One.
"I don’t think I would have got him (Martin) if we weren’t friends," Keates admitted.
"I’ve been chasing him for weeks. There was a possibility of a move to a Championship club and he wanted to wait and see.
"But he is a man of his word and he said if he didn’t end up in the Championship, he would sign for us.
"Two of the biggest clubs in our division tried to sign him at the last minute.
"But he bought into what I want him to do and his role at the football club. I want him to have a role on the pitch but also off the pitch."
Martin sat in the stands as Walsall produced their worst display of the campaign in a 2-0 loss at Luton on Saturday.
But Keates said it won't be long until he is featuring in the match day squad.
"His registration is through so it is something we can look at," the boss continued.
"But the lads have done well over the course of the season so far.
"He is an extra option, it’s just a case of getting him up to match speed.
"His match fitness may just be a little bit short but there will be opportunities over the next few weeks to get him game time.
"Knowing Russ how I do, he is fit. He spent a couple of weeks with West Brom so he has been in competitive training sessions.
"It’s just a case of getting minutes on the pitch."