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Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 14:02 UK

Walsall manager Chris Hutchings targets promotion

Chris Hutchings
Saddlers boss Hutchings succeeded Jimmy Mullen in January 2009

Walsall manager Chris Hutchings says he is setting out on the new season with the aim of taking the Saddlers up to the Championship.

The Saddlers finished tenth in League One last season.

Hutchings told BBC WM: "People could moan about that but it's the highest we've finished for six years so I think that says something.

"We have to take it step by step. Our aim at this moment in time is promotion," he added.

Walsall announced four signings on Wednesday to boost numbers in Hutchings' squad.

Former Fulham and Birmingham winger Julian Gray, 31, is returning to the Banks's Stadium after playing for Walsall in the closing months of last season.

The Saddlers have also brought in defenders Aaron Lescott, 30, and Oliver Lancashire, 21, and former Aston Villa goalkeeper David Bevan, 21.

Hutchings said of Gray: "He has got excellent ability. We were fortunate to get him, and we worked very hard to get him again.

"He likes what we have here, and how we do things, he thinks it's run very professionally. He's been at bigger clubs, so he knows what it's like to be at bigger clubs and work in the Premier League with fantastic international players.

We want to bring another one or two in if possible. But that depends who's available, and whether we like them or not and whether we think they could do the team justice

Walsall boss Chris Hutchings on new signings

"He does have ability, we're fully focused on trying to get him fit, and hopefully he'll be a big success for us."

Hutchings' resources are still relatively limited compared to many of the bigger-spending clubs in League One but he remains optimistic that he can build a squad to challenge near the top of the table.

"We're getting there. We want to bring another one or two in if possible. But that depends who's available, and whether we like them or not and whether we think they could do the team justice," he said.

"I want people who are hungry for this football club, buy into what we are trying to achieve, come in with a smile on their face and enjoy what we have here at the training ground, but be successful, because that's what it's all about.

"Let's not kid ourselves - we do our homework on players, but players do their homework on managers and coaches, what they have, what your ambition is.

"Mine's no different from what it was being in the Premier League - you want to play against the best, you want to test yourself against the best.

"They're not stupid, they speak to other players, 'What's it like? What do you do?' They're buying into what we do, we know what we're doing is right, we've just got to try to get it right on the field and get success there."



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