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SMITH TARGETING CUP PROGRESSION

6 November 2015

The Saddlers host Fleetwood in the FA Cup tomorrow...

Dean Smith is hoping Walsall can improve on a disappointing recent record in the FA Cup by reaching the third round at the very least this season.

The Saddlers, who have not progressed to the third round in eight years, face League One rivals Fleetwood in round one tomorrow afternoon.

Walsall were knocked out by Shrewsbury at this stage last season – and Smith is hoping for better this time around.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had an FA Cup run and personally, my record in the competition hasn’t been great," said Smith.

“I’d like to get to the third round at the very least.

“We’ve had some really tough draws over the years.

"The season before last we beat Shrewsbury and ended up getting Leyton Orient, who were the top ranked team at the time, and we got beat by them.

"Last year we didn’t perform well at Shrewsbury away and got knocked out.

“So it’d be nice to go on a run. We know at the end of each round there’s a financial reward.

“I still believe the FA Cup is the best domestic competition in the world.

"It’s a chance to relive some of the things we’ve done already this season, having played Chelsea in the League Cup.”

Opponents Fleetwood are 21st in League One, a point from safety, and recently appointed Steven Pressley as their new manager.

The ex-Coventry boss succeeded Graham Alexander last month and has won two of his five matches at the helm.

And Smith is expecting a tricky encounter against the Cod Army.

“They’ve had a tough start to the season but have some good players there," said Smith.

"Steven has gone in there and had a mixed bag of results so far. Our head-to-heads against Steven before have been tough and I expect this to be tough as well.”

Sam Mantom (high ankle sprain) and Isaiah Osbourne (knee) will miss out through injury, while Manchester City loanee George Evans has received clearance to play this weekend.

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