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SADDLERS SECURE ETHERIDGE

2 July 2015

Goalkeeper latest to arrive at Banks's Stadium...

THE SADDLERS have secured the services of goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, on a two-year deal.

The 25 year-old was a trainee at Chelsea as well as representing England at Schoolboy level before joining the Fulham Academy.

Progressing to become a professional with the Craven Cottage club, he went out on loan to the likes of Charlton Athletic, Bristol Rovers and Crewe Alexandra in a bid to gain competitive experience.

Having made just one senior outing for The Cottagers, in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, he moved on to Oldham Athletic in October 2014.

He soon re-joined Charlton Athletic, initially on loan, and eventually penned a short-term deal with the club in January 2015 to the end of the season.

A Philippines International, he is an athletic and talented custodian who is relishing the opportunity to make his mark on the first-team here at Banks’s Stadium.

“We had a number of good options but Neil really stood out,” said manager, Dean Smith. “He ticks all the right boxes in terms of age, room for further development and experience at this level and above.

“He is an extremely driven young man who wants to be successful and these are the characteristics that we are looking for.

“Neil will compete with Craig MacGillivray for a first-team place and they will both push each other on, which is exactly the kind of competition that we want.”

Etheridge added: “It’s fantastic to be here. The faith that the Gaffer and Neil Cutler [Goalkeeping Coach] have shown in me means a lot.

“Now is the time to get my head down and work hard. I have gained plenty of International experience in front of big crowds, but I’ve not played as many League games as I would have liked and I intend to rectify that here.

“Everyone has made me feel really welcome and there is a great atmosphere around the place. When things click into place so quickly it makes it that much easier to settle and I have found that here.

“This club wants success and I am determined to play my part in it.”

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