Former Walsall FC player Mark Bradley has been appointed as the club’s new strength and conditioning coach.
Bradley, who replaces Hannah Price at the club following her departure in March, made 104 appearances for the Saddlers over five years between 2005 and 2010, before joining Rotherham United that July.
The Welsh international was forced to retire from playing a few years after suffering a cruciate ligament injury while playing for Rotherham against Oldham - just days before the Millers were set to welcome the Saddlers to the New York Stadium.
But having started a sports science degree during his playing days and keeping fit during his enforced absence, Bradley is back at the Banks’s and looking forward to getting started in pre-season.
“I’m delighted to be back in football,” said Bradley. “I can’t wait to get started.
“I’m doing my sports science degree and I’ve nearly completed that. I used to work with Oshor Williams here when I was a youth player - he is now at the PFA - and it worked out.
“I knew the gaffer, I used to play here, I have done my sports science and that’s the way I wanted to go when my career finished.
“I had a cruciate ligament injury - I was out for seven months but I had a lot of complications.
“I had a micro-fracture done which was the main reason why I had been struggling to get back.
“It was a long two-and-a-half years so during that time I had started my sports science (studies) for when I got finished. I was hoping it wasn’t going to finish but it was on the brink, so I did my personal training course and I’ve been doing that for the past year.
“I’ve got a lot of experience with group coaching, semi-private and private training, which has equipped me well to give me a lot of experience in the training methods I can use.
“I’ll be doing the strength and conditioning work on the lads’ fitness, working with the GPS we have at the club, looking at recovery times and everything involved with sports science, really. I’m sure I’ll get involved in other things as the job goes along.
“I’ve always been massive into the fitness side of football - I’ve always been big into the gym and keeping myself fit. I haven’t played for three years now and seem to have kept my fitness up well."
And Bradley is pleased to be back among familiar faces - not least boss Jon Whitney.
“When I was playing here I had a few injuries - not many long-term ones - but when I was here he was very helpful,” Bradley said of the Saddlers’ manager.
“I always seemed to work hard for him and it shows that if you do that, in the future you don’t know what it holds.
“I also know Sharpsy (Ian Sharps) from Rotherham United, so it’s all good really!”