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The inside track on Walsall's new veteran striker Andy Williams

New recruit Andy Williams has been backed to make a strong impact both on and off the pitch at Walsall.

Andy Williams (Picture: Walsall FC)
Andy Williams (Picture: Walsall FC)

Williams, who turns 36 in August, has been brought in on a one-year deal following his release from Cheltenham Town.

The veteran striker has had an extensive Football League career and won three promotions from League Two, each with different clubs.

Jon Palmer, who covers Cheltenham for Gloucestershire Live, believes Williams’ ability and attitude will be of benefit to the Saddlers.

“With Williams over the last couple of the years, he’s come in and helped Cheltenham win the league – and then achieve their highest-ever finish,” said Palmer.

“He can look back on his spell with the club with pride.

“Williams isn’t a target man. He might be 6ft 1in or 6ft 2in and has lots of experience, but he’s better when playing with a physical forward. If Michael Flynn goes for a 3-5-2, he would probably benefit from playing up front with a real No.9.

"Williams is a really good finisher and still surprisingly quick for his age. He sometimes get used as the focal point because of his height, but his best games for Cheltenham were probably alongside Reuben Reid or somebody with a bit more height and physical presence.

“He’s still got a lot to offer. He’s a bit of an obsessive in terms of looking after himself fitness-wise and nutrition-wise. He’s always up there with the running stats.

Andy Williams in pre-season training

“It’s a really good move for him geographically as well because he’s a family man based in the Midlands with a couple of young kids.

“Walsall should be a good fit for him. He’s had three promotions from six or seven seasons in League Two, so he knows what it’s all about.

“He’s had a lot of success later in his career. His ratio is pretty good.

“Michael Duff always referred to him as the most positive man in football, in terms of around the place and helping out. He’d always be shouting encouragement from the bench during the Covid era, so he’s a good team player.”

Williams scored eight goals in 2020/21 as Cheltenham won League Two and chipped in with four while playing a lesser role last term.

Across the whole of his career, he has managed 157 goals in 683 games.

Palmer added: “He’ll be disappointed he didn’t get more games in League One for Cheltenham, but in League Two, he should start some games, come on in some, and set a good example around the place.

“He’s still got a lot to offer. I’ve seen players four or five years younger than him looking like they’re on their last legs, but he’s still in great nick.”

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