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Butterfield backed to fit at Walsall

Kyle Lightbourne believes Walsall will provide the perfect environment for Kacy Milan Butterfield to fulfil his huge potential.

Butterfield has signed a one-year deal at the Sky Bet League One side after being recommended by Lightbourne, who enjoyed a goal-laden spell at the Banks's Stadium between 1993 and 1997.

Lightbourne, who briefly coached Butterfield at Premier Division side Robin Hood, said watching another Bermudian join Walsall had evoked fond memories of his own time at the club.

“I'm very pleased that one of my former clubs have signed Milan and hopefully he will do himself proud,” Lightbourne said. “It definitely brings back memories for me. I did very well at Walsall and I know a lot of the backroom staff and the chairman [Jeff Bonser] quite well.

“Hopefully Milan will create his own legacy and do well. This is just the beginning for him and he will have to work hard to stay at this level.”

Walsall have earned a reputation for developing young players, including Watford striker Troy Deeney, and Lightbourne said Butterfield will be given every chance to break into the first team.

“Over the years Walsall have been a club that have accepted players from overseas and brought young talent through their ranks,” Lightbourne, whose assistant at Hood is Milan's father, Casey Butterfield.

“Milan has shown a lot of potential from a young age and now he's got a great opportunity to showcase the ability he has.

“I think Milan already feels at home there. Walsall are one of those clubs that you can actually fall in love with as it's such a family club.

“It's not the biggest club, but if you do well for them they take care of you.”

Butterfield, a 6ft 4in midfielder, is not the first Bermudian player to have been recommended to Walsall by Lightbourne.

He also advised the club to run the rule over Nahki Wells, who became Bermuda's first million-pound footballer when he signed for Huddersfield Town, and Rai Simons, who scored five goals for Chesterfield last season.

Lightbourne insists he would not have risked his reputation by endorsing a player who he did not feel was good enough.

“When you send a player over to England you have to be sure they are up to the standard,” he said.

“Milan's age was a big factor for me. He's only 18 and he's still young enough for the club to develop.

“He has an unbelievable ability to spot a pass early, a good first touch, and a great engine on him. I have high hopes for him.

“It can only be good for Bermudian football to have him join the likes of Nahki, Rai and Reggie [Lambe] in English football.”

Lightbourne, nicknamed “Killer” by the Walsall fans in reference to his predatory scoring instincts, is still held in high regard by the club.

He regularly returns to Walsall to watch matches and hopes it will not be too long before Butterfield forces his way into manager Jon Whitney's first-team plans.

“If Milan shows the right attitude then you never know,” said Lightbourne, whose family living in the area housed Butterfield while he was on trial at the club.

“They have some players his age developing in the first team and like to give their youngsters a chance.

“I will have even more excuse to go back to the club now and hopefully watch Milan, whether it be it for the first team, reserves or under-21s.”

Walsall missed out on promotion to the Championship last season after losing 6-1 on aggregate to Barnsley in the play-off semi-finals.

Butterfield is still awaiting his Bermuda debut after being an unused substitute during the present Caribbean Cup campaign and last year's World Cup qualifiers.

He has made himself unavailable for Bermuda's rearranged Caribbean Cup second-round match against French Guiana on Sunday because it is too close to his pre-season, which starts on June 29.

Bermuda were leading French Guiana in the opening group four game on June 1 before it was called off after 41 minutes because of torrential rain.

Fond memories: Lightbourne has backed Butterfield to realise his potential at Walsall

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Published June 16, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 15, 2016 at 11:26 pm)

Butterfield backed to fit at Walsall

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