JULIAN Joachim revealed he will consider joining Walsall long-term in the summer after his hat-trick torpedoed Hull City 3-0 at Bescot Stadium.

But the Saddlers have some serious obstacles to overcome if they are to secure the former Villa ace, currently on loan from Leeds.

Joachim has another year left on his contract at Elland Road and his future there needs to be resolved before he can look elsewhere.

And then, on the evidence of his performance against high-flying Hull, he'll probably have plenty of offers on the table.

Joachim does admit, though, that he has taken a liking to life at Walsall. "I don't know how my future lies at Leeds," he said. "I'll have to wait and see.

"But if I haven't got a future there I'd be interested in Walsall. I've enjoyed myself here. I've played regular football which I need at this stage of my career."

Joachim has discussed the matter with manager Paul Merson who will meet the player's agent this week.

The odds are stacked against him becoming a fully-fledged Saddler. But if the club can convince him of their ambition - that the season after next they intend to be back in the Championship - who knows?

Merson needs no convincing. "It was an absolutely brilliant team performance," he said. "A pleasure to watch. If we keep these players together, anything's possible. Every player was outstanding but Julian does make it special. I'll try my best to keep him. I've already spoken to Jeff Bonser about it.

"We took him on deadline day when nobody else was in for him and that might count for something. It all depends what Leeds do. If they pay him off we've got half a chance."

Mind you, after Saturday, Hull boss Peter Taylor might just be taking an interest too.