Last week, it was revealed that Greg Halford had been training with the club before the lock-down began. He stated in an article with The News, that he was hopeful of returning after lock-down has ended, and is trying to earn a deal there. But the big question is, would it be a good fit?
For those who don’t know a lot about Halford, he is 35, and plays mainly in defence, although over his career he has been seen as a utility player who has played all over the pitch. He has played over 500 games in his career, the majority of these in the Championship, and also has Premier League experience. So for me, that ticks all the boxes.
The fact that he is such a proven utility player is something that will interest Clarke. Many of the players in the squad are able to play in multiple positions, and have been used there. Players like Kinsella and James Clarke and Josh Gordon have been have been utilised in many positions. The thing that jars with me is the similarity to Gary Liddle. The signing of Liddle was to provide experience, add a proven player at this level, and someone that can slot in where the manager asks them too. Halford is exactly the same, but he has been that player in the Championship, not Leagues 1 and 2, so perhaps I am being too quick to judge. The other thing I fear is a repeat of the Russell Martin situation, where we have a player who is proven in the leagues above, not being able to adapt to lower league football. This would be the lowest league Halford had played in for a long time, and he would have to adapt to it.
The other concern I have is his age, and recent playing time. The first thing I would say is that I do not feel age is too much of a big deal in League 2. We had Adam Chambers who played over 40 games a season into his late 30’s and Mat Sadler has been consistently been playing over 30 games a season too (for us he has made 31 appearances so far this season). However with Halford it is different. He has struggled for game time in recent years. Since the 2015-16 season, Halford has played in 76 matches, however in the last 2 years he has only played twice, and been without a club since last summer. To compare those figures, Sadler has played in 191 matches in the same period.
I fear that overall he is too out of practice and match experience. However much of a good influence he could be on the squad, we need players who are ready to hit the ground running next season to push for the higher league positions.
If we do sign him, he will have my full support, as any Walsall player would, and I will happily be proven wrong by him!
Link to Halford article with The News – https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/sport/football/portsmouth-fc/former-pompey-cardiff-and-forest-man-greg-halford-hoping-earn-walsall-lifeline-playing-career-2846463