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Gillespie: A fresh challenge

4 July 2017

Goalkeeper Mark Gillespie is looking forward to a "fresh challenge" with the Saddlers.

The 25-year-old stopper put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Walsall last month after turning down a new contract offer from Carlisle.

The Newcastle-born glovesman made over 150 league appearances for the Cumbrians after graduating through their youth system.

But after nine years at Brunton Park, Gillespie felt the time was right to move on to pastures new.

And after meeting Saddlers boss Jon Whitney and goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler, the 6’3” stopper had his heart set on Walsall.

“I spoke to a few different clubs and goalkeeping coaches and Carlisle as well,” said Gillespie.

“I just think I needed a fresh challenge because I had been there a long time. I wanted a move to test myself and playing in League One was a major factor.

“Then it was about the environment Walsall work in. I spoke to Neil Cutler in detail about the way he goes about his work. That appealed to me.

“The fact that he was ready for me to come in and be an important part of the side. To play games and to impact the team and hopefully have a good season.

“The manager as well sold the club to me.

“The people I spoke to, lads that have played for the club, all spoke highly of Walsall and that it is an enjoyable place to work.

“These are all things that helped me make the move. It was early doors – perhaps halfway through the summer - that I had my heart set on joining.”

Gillespie linked up with his new teammates in pre-season training last week and feels he has settled in well.

“It’s been really good,” he added. “The lads have been great and the staff as well. It’s been a really easy transition to come here.

“It’s the first time I have been with a new side but it’s been enjoyable. I’ve worked hard.

“It’s been a lot easier to settle in that I thought it would be and that is down to the lads.

“It’s a totally new group for me but everyone has been so welcoming and we just want to get on and work hard because we are looking forward to a positive season.”


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