Walsall Sign Stoke Winger Harper
Updated Wednesday, 21st February 2007
Stoke winger Kevin Harper has signed a one month loan deal with Walsall.
The 31-year-old had a successful temporary spell with Carlisle earlier this season where he made eight appearances for the Brunton Park side. However on his return to the Britannia Stadium in January, after suffering from a calf injury, he has found his chances in the team limited.
Harper first impressed as a youngster when playing for Hutchison Vale Boys Club in Edinburgh, Oldham-born Scotland schools international Kevin being quickly snapped by SPL side Hibernian before the start of the 1993-94 season. The nippy winger made 96 appearances and scored 15 goals for the Hibees as he performed well for the Easter Road outfit, Harper being courted by several other British clubs at the time.
In the end it was Derby County who landed the diminutive midfielder, with then Rams manager Jim Smith paying £300,000 for Harper in September 1998. Despite clear potential, Harper failed to impress at Derby, and he was loaned out to Walsall in December 1999 for the remainder of the season, Kevin making nine appearances and scoring one goal for the Saddlers. However his spell at Walsall was cut short when Portsmouth made an offer of £300,000 for his services in March 2000, Harper leaving Pride Park for Fratton Park after making just 32 appearances and scoring only one goal for County.
The 30-year old would remain on the south coast for almost five years, although he did spend loan spells at Leicester and Norwich where he made 11 starts in total between the two clubs. Harper though being a crucial member of the Portsmouth side that won the First Division title in the 2002-03 season with a huge 98 points, and his excellent performances down either wing for Portsmouth earned him a place in the full Scotland squad.
In January 2005, after making 119 appearances and scoting nine goals for Pompey Harper joined Stoke City for a nominal fee in January 2005. Kevin has often struggled with injuries throughout his career though and this season with Stoke has been no different as a dislocated shoulder at the start of the year, after a hamstring strain in pre-season, ended his campaign with the Potters prematurely.