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GRAY RETURNS

27 September 2013

Saddlers secure deal for wide-man...

THE SADDLERS have agreed a deal with wide-man, Julian Gray, until January 2014 and have received the necessary clearance to allow him to be in contention for our trip to League leaders, Leyton Orient on Saturday.

The 33 year-old has been training with the club in recent weeks and has figured in a couple of reserve games having returned to these shores following a spell in the Cypriot League with Nea Salamina Famagusta.

“Julian is a player who has done well for me in the past,” said manager, Dean Smith. “We’ve had him training with us for the past month or so where we’ve been able to assess his fitness.

“He’s got a great attitude and plenty of experience and quality, which will only enhance our squad.”

Learning his trade at Arsenal, where he earned a glowing reputation as he came through the ranks, his first-team opportunities were limited to just one substitute appearance for The Gunners and Crystal Palace paid a fee of £500,000 to take him to Selhurst Park in 2000.

His undoubted skill and ability on the left-hand side really came to the fore at Palace and he went on to become a key figure for the club in well over 100 appearances, during which time he scored the goal that knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in 2002/03 at Anfield and also helped them secure promotion into the Premier League.

Moving on to Birmingham City in readiness for the 2004/05 campaign, he played an important role under Steve Bruce at St. Andrews before being released in May 2007. A short spell at Coventry City followed before he went on a season-long loan to Fulham in September 2008, which was made into a permanent deal in February 2009.

Finding his first-team chances limited at Craven Cottage, he joined Barnsley at the start of the 2009/10 campaign and went on to play in seven games for The Championship outfit.

His first spell with The Saddlers started in February 2010 and he went on to make a total of 64 outings for the club, playing his part in our ‘Great Escape’ in 2010/11 before his departure in the summer of 2011.

We welcome him back to Banks’s Stadium

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