Daily Post

Walsh in a return mission

Mark Currie
By Mark Currie, Daily Post

15/07/02

David WalshFORMER Wrexham goalkeeper David Walsh could find himself back at the Racecourse next season - as a member of the opposition.

Released by Dragons' manager Denis Smith in May, Walsh turned out for third division rivals Shrewsbury Town in a friendly against Colwyn Bay on Saturday and revealed that Rushden & Diamonds are also among clubs interested in seeing what he has to offer.

The ex-Welsh under-21 international endured a traumatic start to his Llanelian Road outing under the watchful eye of Shrews' boss Kevin Ratcliffe, conceding a penalty after just five minutes when he clumsily brought down Stuart Schelber.

Thereafter, though, he made a series of sharp first-half saves as the UniBond League outfit threatened to embarrass their visitors in front of a 400-strong crowd, in which there was a strong element of travelling fans.

And afterwards, Ratcliffe said he had been sufficiently impressed to want Walsh to prolong his stay a little longer at the Gay Meadow.

"It's hard to tell from one game but the signs are good," he said. "He's a shot-stopper but, like all goalkeepers, he needs time to get used to the defenders who are playing in front of him. We'll have to have another look hopefully and then we'll have a chat to see what develops."

Shrewsbury continue their pre-season build-up with a couple of friendlies in South Wales next week but Walsh is keeping his options open. He said: "I've been at Shrewsbury a few days to train and Kev only came back from his holidays on Friday. We need to sit down and talk but, at the moment, I'm simply pleased to be having a game.

"I had a call from Brian Talbot at Rush-den & Diamonds on Thursday evening asking me to go there, Eric Nixon wants me to go in and do a bit of training at Tranmere and Hereford United have also expressed an interest in giving me a trial.

"But I'm not going to rush into anything. I'm prepared to see what's around before I make any decisions."

Walsh, a victim of cost-cutting measures at Wrexham, claimed his departure after five years with the club was probably what he needed. "It's been an eye opener but I think it was a change that was necessary," he added.

"Things were getting a bit stale at Wrexham. Now I'm seeing different styles of training and working with different managers and I've enjoyed it. I've been a lot more relaxed about things and I taking it as it comes.

"I'm never been one to blow my own trumpet but hopefully something will come along, sooner rather than later, because I need to get myself sorted."

And Ratcliffe admitted that his defenders also needed to show a marked improvement in the coming weeks after being given the run-around for the opening hour of Saturday's friendly.

After Carl Furlong had fired Bay ahead from the penalty spot, central defenders Matty Redmile and Mickey Heath-cote struggled to cope with the pace of the Liverpudlian front-man and his new partner, former Flexsys Cefn Druids player, Ross Jefferies.

Walsh saved well from Schelber, Furlong and Jeffries as the home side dominated the opening 45 minutes, although Seagull's 'keeper, Matthew Boswell, who was with Falkirk last season, made one superb save to deny Ryan Lowe.

After the break, with former Race-course striker Ian Stevens back in Shrewsbury colours after a spell at Carlisle United, the benefits of full- time training began to tell.

Boswell, whose father, Alan, played for Shrewsbury in the 1970s, produced another magnificent effort in the match. But he was finally beaten by a spectacular volley from Welsh under-21 international, Jamie Tolley to spare the Shrews' blushes.