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SMITH: WE WON'T BE DISTRACTED

28 August 2015

Saddlers focused on the next match...

WALSALL manager, Dean Smith, insists his players will not be distracted by the upcoming Capital One Cup third round tie against Premier League champions Chelsea.

The Saddlers have won our last five consecutive matches in all competitions, including a 2-1 League Cup win over Championship Brighton to set up the dream Chelsea clash.

Tomorrow afternoon, we return to league action with a trip to Blackpool – knowing that a victory could take us top of League One.

And ahead of the visit to Bloomfield Road, Smith insists that everyone is concentrating solely on the next game.

“Chelsea at home is a really good draw for the football club - it captures the imagination of the public, the players and the management staff - but it’s a way off yet,” said Smith.

“We’ve got a lot of games to play first and we’ll concentrate on them when they come around.

“We were in a similar situation last year with the Wembley trip. We had 11 or 12 games before Wembley, and our results weren’t great during that period because of the injuries we had.

“It’s important that we keep everyone's feet on the floor and firmly concentrate on the next game.”

Neil McDonald’s Tangerines provide the opposition on Saturday. The Seasiders are bottom of League One and winless this season, although Smith says they shouldn’t be underestimated.

“It’s been a difficult time for the football club there,” said Smith. “Neil McDonald’s come in at the start of the season, and they’ve had a tough start. He’ll have seen enough so far to suggest that they can turn things around.

“We watched them at Sheffield United (their last match) and they were in the game until the first goal around 65th minute so it just shows that they’ve gone and competed against one of the biggest club in the league.

“They’ve got a lot of players who are quite capable of causing problems to any team; we’ll have to be at our best.”

It has been a hectic start to the season for Smith’s Saddlers, with tomorrow’s Blackpool match set to be our seventh competitive fixture in just 22 days.

“We’re only in the third week of the season but we’ve had that many games so far,” commented Smith. “It’s been thick and fast but we’ve done really well.

"I’ve changed the team around and the players have responded to it all. We’ve had some tremendous performances and some really good results.

"We want to continue that and hopefully we can keep the performance level stays where it is.”

Saddlers centre-back, Paul Downing, came off with a tight groin on Tuesday evening but is expected to be fit for tomorrow’s match. Walsall have no other injury concerns.

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