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SMITH SET FOR 250TH MATCH IN CHARGE

29 September 2015

Boss to reach milestone...

Dean Smith will take charge of his 250th match as Walsall manager against Scunthorpe United this evening.

The 44-year-old has spent almost five years at the helm, making him the fourth longest-serving manager in English football’s top four divisions.

Only Arsene Wenger (Arsenal), Paul Tisdale (Exeter) and Karl Robinson (MK Dons) have spent longer at their respective clubs.

And ahead of tonight’s visit to Glanford Park, Smith admits he feels honoured to have reached the milestone.

“I feel very proud,” said Smith, who is now the third longest-serving boss in Walsall's history (behind Alan Buckley and Billy Moore).

“It shows a level of commitment from the football club and a level of commitment from myself towards a project to try and help the football club climb through the leagues.

“League One is a very tough league to get out of but we’re trying to get into the Championship.

“Only three Walsall managers have got us into the second tier and I want to be the fourth.

“We know how hard it’s going to be but I’m pleased with the progress the football club is making.”

Smith first took the reins on 4th January 2011, when he was placed in caretaker charge following Chris Hutchings’ departure.

The Saddlers were eight points from safety at the bottom of League One and appeared destined for relegation.

But, under Smith’s stewardship, our fortunes improved considerably.

In his first game, Andy Butler scored a dramatic last-minute equaliser as we fought back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 at Tranmere.

He was handed the job on a permanent basis on 21st January, and eight days later, he secured his first victory – a 6-1 mauling of Bristol Rovers.

The Saddlers amassed 25 points from the next 19 fixtures to survive the drop by one point and one place, finishing in 20th position.

Smith steered Walsall to League One survival again the following campaign, and in 2012/13, we came ninth – our highest league finish in nine years.

Last season, he guided Walsall to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, where we played at Wembley Stadium for the first time in our 127-year history.

He considers our goalless home draw with Preston in the JPT semi-final - which booked our place at Wembley – to be his favourite game.

In total, Smith has won 78 of his 249 matches in charge, drawing 93 and losing 78.

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