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SMITH: LET'S STAY AT THE SUMMIT

15 October 2015

Saddlers went top with victory over Burton...

Dean Smith has challenged his in-form side to stay at the League One summit.

Walsall went top with a deserved 2-0 victory over Burton, courtesy of goals from Liam Kinsella and Tom Bradshaw.

The Saddlers have taken an impressive 25 points from 12 league matches – making it our best start to a third-tier campaign in 15 years.

Dean Saunders’ Chesterfield visit the Banks’s this Saturday – and the boss is hoping for another positive result to stay top of the pile.

“It’s a good position to be in and we’re hoping to stay there,” said Smith.

“Our league position should give the lads a lot of confidence and there’s certainly a mental toughness there, which comes from playing well and putting in good performances.

“To have only conceded six league goals is a credit to all the players and if that can continue then there’s no reason why we can’t stay there.

“But it’ll be a tough game against Chesterfield.

“Their away record is better than their home record and they’ve got good players, the likes of Jay O’Shea, Sam Morsy and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who are really good footballers.

“We'll have to be at our best in every game if we’re to stay where we are in the table."

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and right-back Jason Demetriou are available this weekend after missing the Burton match due to international duty with the Philippines and Cyprus respectively.

Craig MacGillivray and Liam Kinsella both came into the side and impressed in a 2-0 win – with the latter scoring the Saddlers’ first-half opener.

And Smith admits their performances have left him with ‘a good selection headache’.

“What you want is competition for places and everything pushing each other,” said Smith.

“Liam Kinsella’s performance on Saturday was excellent and he scored a good goal.

“Jason has done well for us, too. He’s got energy in abundance and I’ve never known a right-back/wing-back to get in the opposition box so often and take so many shots.

“At the start of the season Craig was pushing Neil for a starting place. Neil got the nod and has done really well. But then Craig came in and kept a clean sheet – which I was really pleased about.

“It gives me a good selection headache.”

Smith is hopeful that James O’Connor (tight groin) should be passed fit, although Isaiah Osbourne has been ruled out after picking up an infection following a knee operation.

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