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21 March 2013

New loan 'keeper looking forward to Saddlers' challenge...

THERE will be another new name in The Saddlers' goal at Hartlepool on Saturday as the highly-rated Sam Johnstone has joined the club on loan for the rest of the season from Manchester United.

The tall and athletic stopper has been at Old Trafford since the age of nine and has progressed well whilst coming up through the ranks over the past decade.

Along the way he has gained England honours at various levels and last term had spells out on loan in League One with Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United.

"This is a great opportunity," said the Preston-born custodian who turns 20 on Monday. "I can't wait to get out there and get started.

"The club is in a good position and hopefully I can come in and help the team push on and reach the play-offs.

"I need to be playing competitive matches now and I am delighted that this chance has come up for me. I had experience in League One last season and that will help me.

"I can only learn from coming here and getting regular competitive action in what is a strong and physical League.

"I'm prepared to roll my sleeves up and put the work in; Manchester United build that into every player and I am determined to make the most of this move.

"I've been at Manchester United for a long time and whilst it is a fantastic club to be involved with, I do need these loan spells to be able to develop and push on.

"Training with the first-team 'keepers at United every day and being around some of the best players in the World can only stand me in good stead and I can't fail to learn from that."

Johnstone was introduced to his new team-mates for the first time on Thursday. "They seem a good bunch," he added. "I'm sure they'll help me settle in  and we'll be on the same wavelength.

"It's nice to come into a team that is doing well. I'm sure that will help me hit the ground running and, as I say, I just can't wait to be involved and playing my part.

"There are some big games coming up and it's going to be a case of taking them one at a time."

Saddlers Player subscribers will be able to see the interview in full...

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