Walsall signed their third player in as many days when manager Jimmy Mullen completed the recruitment of midfielder Dwayne Mattis.
After a summer devoid of any transfer activity, Mullen’s rebuilding of the Saddlers squad has sprung to life as Mattis follows defender Stephen Roberts and striker Jabo Ibehre.
Unlike Roberts and Ibehre, Mattis is no stranger to Walsall fans after the 26-year-old former Republic of Ireland under-21 international spent a month on loan at the Banks’s Stadium last season and helped the club to three victories and a draw before he broke his leg in the 0-0 draw with Tranmere Rovers, which brought a premature end to his stay.
Mattis came through the ranks at home-town club Huddersfield Town where he made a total of 79 appearances in all competitions. He moved on to Bury in the summer of 2004 and made a big impact, playing in more than 100 games. His performances earned him a £50,000 switch into the Championship with Barnsley in January 2007 but his career began to falter. Mattis credits his brief time with Walsall for rekindling his desire for football.
“I’m excited to be back,” he said. “I enjoyed my football the last time I was here and, to be honest, it brought back my love for the game. The injury put a permanent move on the back-burner but now I’m fully fit and raring to go again.”
It isn’t just within the squad where Mullen has recruited some new faces. New first team coach John Schofield is also acclimatising himself to life at Walsall and is relishing working with the players during the pre-season.
Schofield, who spent a brief spell as manager of Lincoln City, said: “It’s a League One club and Walsall has a good reputation around the leagues. It is a friendly club and Jimmy Mullen is a likeable and friendly guy, so there’s not really a lot more you can ask when you join a club.
“When you have been involved in football it’s about working day to day in the football environment, you can’t explain it. I can’t wait now to get going with the players and get out on to the training field. I have a background of working with young players and I am relishing the prospect of helping this club’s talented young prospects to fulfil their potential.”