Boss on the 2014/15 campaign...SADDLERS’ boss, Dean Smith, has given us his thoughts on the 2014/15 campaign.
“It’s fair to say that it has been a stop-start season,” he admitted. “It started with a number of injuries, but we managed to get through that and our first League win came at the seventh time of asking against Preston North End.
“We’ve generally been very good against the higher-placed teams but average against those from lower down the table, and that is something that we need to work on.
“We’ve not scored as many goals as I would have liked us to, although there were signs towards the end of the season that our fortunes were starting to change in this respect.
“There are a lot of young players in the squad and a lot of players who haven’t played consistently during their careers to date.
“Last season was looked upon as a good season, but this time around we have bettered our points tally and also made it to Wembley, but we are disappointed because we felt that we could have done better.
“Obviously Wembley was a proud moment for everyone associated with the club. The build-up was fantastic but I was disappointed in the manner of how we played.
“I have started to look back on it with a great deal of pride now. It was the first-ever time that the club had reached Wembley and we were beaten by the better side on the day and a team who were easily the strongest in League One.
“We’ll certainly be better for the experience and those celebrations at the end of the Preston game when our place was secured, will live long in the memory.
“For me, the best performance of the season came at Crawley Town. We went into that game on the back of a disappointing result in our previous game, but we went there and put in an unbelievable display to control the game from start to finish.
“We should have been out-of-sight but instead ended up losing to a late goal. The lads took a lot of belief from the performance and used it to kick-on.
“There are no regrets from me as I look back at 2014/15; hindsight is a wonderful thing and maybe there are a few things I would have done differently.
“We have had a lot of young players get a good taste of the action and this will benefit everyone concerned. The club is in a good place in terms of development and we have the Midland Youth Cup and Walsall Senior Cup to prove it.
“We haven’t had to play the loan market as much this season, but the lads who have come in, Michael Cain and Jordy Hiwula, have both done well. They are just two of a number of younger lads who have gone on to gain good experience.
“Defensively we have given ourselves a solid base on which to build this season and have been excellent over the course of the season.
“We’re always planning and always looking to move forward and improve. I am always striving to do better whilst striving to be as innovative as we can.
“We feel that we are doing the right things and moving in the right direction.”
You can watch the full interview from Saturday morning on the Official Saddlers You Tube Channel.