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Back in mid-May, before our season ended, former Claret Matt Taylor was appointed as the new head coach at Walsall and today he’s added to his squad with the capture of Stephen Ward who is a former Burnley team mate.

Both Taylor and Ward signed for Burnley in the summer of 2014 following promotion and while Taylor struggled with injury, Ward went on to play a major role for us before leaving two years ago, going on to spend one season with Stoke and Ipswich. And, at the age of 35, he’s signed a one year deal with the Saddlers having been released by Ipswich.

“It’s exciting,” Ward said on completing the move. “I have been in with the lads training for a couple of days now, having a look at the place and I am really impressed with how the head coach is trying to go about his business and his ambition for the season. I have been really impressed from speaking to the head coach and I am really excited to get going this year.”

Taylor said: “Stephen is someone who I have played with and has huge experience in the game. He’s a player that’s played at the top and for him to have a leadership role within the group in terms of what he can offer with his experience and more importantly, what he can offer on the pitch. We’re extremely happy to have someone of Stephen’s quality joining the club.

“The biggest thing for him is he wants to be part of the journey that we’re on at this football club so from my perspective, I’ve always spoken about good people first, followed by a good player and Stephen fits the mould.

“It will be great for other players in the group to learn from him because he’s a fantastic professional and somebody that’s got huge experience domestically and internationally but more importantly, he still wants to be successful and we hope he can help us to do that here.”

Ward had played for Wolves and Brighton before arriving at Turf Moor where he made 101 league appearances for the Clarets but having suffered an injury early in the 2018/19 season he lost his place to Charlie Taylor with his final appearance coming in the FA Cup defeat that season at Manchester City. During his time at Burnley he turned in some outstanding performances at left-back and, of course, also scored our second, a sensational goal, in our 3-2 opening day win at Chelsea in 2017./

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