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O'DONNELL READY FOR BATTLE

18 July 2013

New 'keeper up for the challenge...

GOALKEEPER, Richard O'Donnell, is relishing the challenge of establishing himself as The Saddlers' first choice between the posts during the campaign ahead.

The 24 year-old is a product of the Sheffield Wednesday Academy and has also served Chesterfield as well as having loan spells at a number of clubs during his formative years.

"It's been a long summer, but I am delighted that everything is sorted here and I can now look forward to the new season," he said. "I've never been on trial at a club before, but the lads here have been different class and really helped me to settle in straight away and this in turn meant that I was able to give a good account of myself.

"I've been here for three weeks, but the week we spent in Trinidad & Tobago was key as it allowed me to really bond with everyone.

"I was involved with the first-team squad at Sheffield Wednesday from a young age, so I've got plenty of experience under my belt, but I still class myself as a young 'keeper with plenty to offer.

"I feel that I will fit in well with the Gaffer's young and hungry mould. I like the style that he and Richard O'Kelly want us to play; their enthusiasm and love of the game is clear to see and transfers itself to the players on the training ground.

"I also feel that Neil Cutler's coaching will only make me a better player. I can feel the benefit already and I am looking forward to building on this as the season progresses."

So what are O'Donnell's thoughts on the season ahead?

"It's going to be a competitive League. There are some big clubs that have come down alongside some tough teams already at this level. As I say, the hunger and spirit that exists here will certainly stand us in good stead.

"We have a strong backbone to the team and are a tight unit. From what I have seen so far the lads here are very fit and technically-gifted.

"I've played at Banks's Stadium before, but I can't wait to play here as a Walsall player. The atmosphere can be excellent and it's a nice place to play football.

"We're looking forward to testing ourselves against Leeds on Saturday and seeing where we're at against a side from a higher level."

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