In the first of a few pieces about the retained and released list was announced, I will be discussing those that have been released, and what I think about them.
First up, Kory Roberts. Kory rose through the ranks with us, and won young players of the season in the 2017/18 season, the season which he played the most games for us. He showed a lot of promise, with Dean Keates ready to make him one of his key players for the 18/19 season. However a pre-season game with Stoke City changed Kory’s course with the Saddlers. After suffering the double leg break, Kory barely featured, however he did manage to return to action for the squad, to a big reception from the fans, in a Leasing.com trophy match against Southampton Under-21’s. Despite this, he struggled to break back into the first-team, something many fans, including myself, so desperately wanted to see, and this seems to have brought his Saddler’s career to an end.
The other player fans were surprised to see included was Shay Facey. Shay’s Walsall career was plagued with injuries. He did not play a league game for us until a late substitute in the awful away game against Oldham. After this, he did enjoy a more prominent spell in the team, and went on to bag a couple of assists, and impress with performances, however injury hit again, forcing him in and out the squad. Ultimately his fitness is too much of a concern to keep him at the club. Going forward, clubs will need to have trimmed down squads, and unfortunately for Shay, he has shown that he can be quite injury prone.
I think we all knew that Gary Liddle would not have his deal extended, and many would not be surprised to see James Hardy, and Mitch Candlin. All three haven’t set the world alight whilst being here. Liddle proved that his best days at this level are well and truly behind him, Hardy never really made the step up to Football League level, and Candlin failed to live up to his early career hype. All 3 are players that we cannot keep a hold of if we want to push up the league, especially with the way money around the club will be going forward.
Overall I can see the reasons why players have gone, yes I would love to have kept Kory and Facey, but I can see the reasoning behind their departures.
Tomorrow’s piece will be about those who have been offered new deals, or had options taken out by the club. Be sure to let me know your thoughts!