Three new players have been added to Walsall in the last few days, and all have brought a lot to the table. The squad is now filling out well, with a lot of League Two know how being added.
In four days, Walsall have added a wealth of experience to their ranks. Combined, the three players have well over 600 League appearances, which is something that was lacking in the Walsall side over the last couple of seasons. The more experienced players in previous seasons have not delivered, Rory Gaffney, Gary Little and Danny Guthrie all failed to flatter, but the new crop of players have a big contrast, they are not old players.
Walsall’s squad was unbalanced. Either the player was old and experienced, or young with little game-time. The three mentioned above had a lot of games under their belts, but ultimately, they were past it. This is something that is being rectified by the three players added.
Manny Monthe, the latest addition, has 126 league appearances under his belt, with five of these being games in the play-off’s. This is a good number of games for a player who 26 years old. As a defender, this is not near his peak, and he has many years ahead of him, as has been seen with Mat Sadler. A two-year deal will see him entering his prime, so it is up to Walsall to make sure they progress, and keep a hold of him.
Conor Wilkinson also fits into this side well. He is also 26, the same as Monthe, and has 175 league appearances already. Both Wilkinson and Monthe have experience in the National League too, and this experience cannot be underestimated. Wilkinson dropped into the National League after failing to get going in his early career, however the spell did him wonders, and he has been a fine player in League Two.
Both are signings that add that league know-how, at an age when they aren’t particularly old. The squad is growing, and both of these players will be hoping to be continuing as starting players. They have joined Walsall not as bit part players recently, but as the first names on the team sheet, which makes a change for the Saddlers.
Joss Labadie comes into the club as a tried and tested captain. He has made 380 professional appearances across Leagues One and Two, and the various cups too. He has been a consistent starter over the last few years, and will no doubt be a starting player with Walsall too.
His experience as a captain is huge, especially with James Clarke no longer at the club, and the captaincy available. At 30, he is not exactly an elder statesman of the game, but he does draw comparisons to a player Walsall know well. Labadie has a ‘Adam Chambers’ feel about him, a tried and tested player at this level who can help lead the club.
Labadie will be a great influence to Perry and Bates, who will look to him for guidance. Having an experienced head by his side may help Kinsella too. That is not a negative towards Sinclair, but Labadie is far more experienced at this level, and will playing a lot more than Sinclair did.