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Former Carlisle united midfielder now a free agent after contract shock



Joe Riley, a former Carlisle United midfielder, is back on the move after being released by Walsall.

The 27-year-old is one of four first-team players released by the Saddlers after not being offered a new contract. Riley has spent the previous two seasons at the Poundland Bescot Stadium, having turned down a new contract with the Blues in 2022.

He made 33 appearances for Walsall and will now hunt for a new team. Riley was released, along with Owen Evans, Rollin Menayese, and Aramide Oteh, following the Saddlers’ 11th-place finish in League Two under Mat Sadler.

The former Manchester United player played two seasons at Brunton Park, coming under Chris Beech in the summer of 2020.

Riley appeared in 84 games and scored five goals for Beech, Keith Millen, and Paul Simpson while at Brunton Park. Riley then left the Blues for Walsall, although his first season with the Saddlers was severely hampered by injuries, with Riley not making his debut until February 2023.

Before leaving for Bescot, he made 14 appearances that season and 19 the previous season.

One of Riley’s old United teammates is also on the move. Ethan Walker, a former Blues loanee, has been released by Championship team Blackburn Rovers. Walker, 21, has been released by the Ewood Park club after two years on.

Walker joined United on loan from Preston North End in 2020/21, making 17 appearances. Last season, the forward went on loan to Morecambe and Oldham Athletic before joining Blackburn in 2022.

He has been released, along with Sam Barnes, Lenni Cirino, Ben Fyles, Jay Haddow, Jared Harlock, Charlie Weston, and second-year scholar Ben Thirkill, following the expiration of their respective contracts.