RICHIE Wellens has confirmed his final defensive signing of the summer transfer window this morning by drafting in Arsenal’s Daniel Ballard on a one-year loan deal.

The 19-year-old was snapped up by Wellens last Thursday, but he had to wait until last night’s opening pre-season friendly against Brimscombe and Thrupp to mix with his new teammates having not been allowed to train since the deal was agreed.

Ballard arrives with a wealth of youth experience, having made 18 appearances for the Gunners in Premier League 2 last season – which resulted in a call-up for Northern Ireland’s senior squad in March.

Wellens described Ballard as athletic, quick and comfortable on the ball. He is expected to be involved in the first team, with Wellens seemingly keen to establish playing three men in defence – a move which he believes will lead to inevitable injuries.

He said: “Daniel (Ballard) is simple and effective.

“At times we might go with three at the back this year – Tom Broadbent, Mathieu Baudry and Dion Conroy are our established centre backs.

“If we’re going to play three at the back throughout the season, then we are going to pick up injuries.

“It’s common sense to have four centre backs, and Zeki (Fryers) can fill in at centre back if needs be.

“Defensively we’re sorted. Now it’s about getting four – maybe five if the budget allows – in.

“We want a holding midfielder, a winger/10, maybe another winger and two strikers.”

Ballard is Wellens’ seventh summer capture, with Tyler Reid, Adam May, Zeki Fryers, Mathieu Baudry, Jerry Yates and Rob Hunt already confirmed as starters for the 2019-20 season.

The Town boss will now look towards his options up front.

And after missing out on strikers Nicky Maynard and Danny Mayor, Wellens admitted attracting proven goalscorers to the club has been difficult.

He added: “We made six or seven signings in 10 days, but they were done weeks ago.

“We were talking to those players at the end of last season, so those players were easy to get over the line.

“With strikers it is proving difficult because I have lost out on a couple. We might get one in on loan, and permanent one.

“Then we will have goals in our team.”