Walsall FC's preparations for the new 2011-12 season got underway with a five day training and team building excercise at Stirling with games against Grennock Morton and Gretna. It gave manager Dean Smith a chance to see in competitive action his several new signings plus trialiasts hoping to catch his eye to earn a contract with the club.
Andy Butler and Jimmy Walker extended their short deals in the early part of the summer whereas Julian Gray, Matt Richards and Emmanuel Ledesma dithered and lost their chance. Dean Smith wasn't going to hang around forever waiting for them to pledge their future at the Banks's Stadium and had to continue building for the new season without them.
In came Kevan Hurst, a versatile midfielder from Carlisle,Mat Sadler, a left back from Watford, Ryan Jarvis, a striker from Leyton Orient, Adam Chambers, a midfielder also from Orient, Lee Beevers, a defender from Colchester and Claude Gnakpa, a speedy winger from Luton. Other signings may be made before the season starts.
As for the results from the games, which don't really matter too much, Walsall beat Morton 2-0 with goals from Chambers and Gnakpa whilst the Gretna game ended 0-0. This week Walsall fans have two chances to have a look at their new players with friendly games at home on Tuesday v.Wolves, and Thursday against Aston Villa.