Boost as experienced defender agrees dual role...THE SADDLERS have been handed a boost on and off-the-field with the news that Dean Holden has put pen-to-paper on a new one-year deal at Banks’s Stadium.
The popular defender, who joined The Saddlers from Rochdale in the summer of 2012, will also join the backroom staff as Pro Development Coach, a role that will see him working closely with our young professionals.
“I am really pleased to have secured Dean’s services for at least another year,” said manager, Dean Smith. “He is a tremendous character to have around the place and, as was proved at the start of last season, he is also a very able centre back who will provide competition to the likes of Andy Butler, Paul Downing and Matt Preston.
“He’s agreed a dual role that will also see him become Pro Development Coach, where he will oversee players in the 18-21 age group.
“He spoke to me during the course of last season about his desire to break into the coaching side of the game and he has been working hard to get his coaching badges recently.
“The experience and knowledge of the game that he has combined with the respect that he commands throughout the club means that he has all the attributes needed to help develop our young professionals.
“I look forward to continuing to work with him throughout the season ahead.”
The 33 year-old started his career with Bolton Wanderers before joining Oldham Athletic following a successful loan spell at Boundary Park.
Going on to make over 100 appearances for The Latics, he was then snapped up by Peterborough United in 2005.
Skippering The Posh, he was a popular figure both on and off-the-field before moving north of the border with Falkirk.
Called up to the Northern Ireland full squad during the summer of 2007, despite representing England at youth level, his progress was halted by a broken leg during the 2007/08 campaign.
After returning to full fitness, he joined Shrewsbury Town in 2009, where his time included a loan spell at Rotherham United. His next port of call was Chesterfield, whom he joined in February 2011.
Loaned out to Rochdale early in the 2011/12 season, he eventually made a permanent switch to Spotland following a fruitful temporary spell before linking up with The Saddlers.
“I’m absolutely buzzing,” added Holden. “I’ve loved every minute of my time here; the Gaffer has been brilliant from the first time I met him and Richard O’Kelly has a wealth of knowledge on the game.
“To be offered this dual role is perfect for me. It’s such a great environment in which to work and learn.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for me to prolong my playing career and also take my first steps into coaching, which is something of real interest to me.”
There will be a full interview with Dean Holden here on www.saddlers.co.uk tomorrow...