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Introducing Walsall

25 June 2015

Dean Smith guided Walsall to Wembley last year

Name: Walsall Football Club
Founded: 1888
Stadium: Bescot Stadium
Capacity: 11,300
Manager: Dean Smith
Last season: 14th in League One

Following a mid-table finish to the 2014/15 campaign, Walsall will look for better things next season. 

Manager Dean Smith guided the Saddlers to a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final last season, where they lost to Bristol City at Wembley.

Smith, 44, began his playing career with the club he now manages, turning professional at the Midlands outfit in 1989.

The defender turned out 142 times for Walsall in a five-year period, before signing for Hereford United in 1994.

Three-years at the Bulls followed, with Leyton Orient next on the agenda for West-Bromwich born Smith, when he moved to East-London in 1997.

During his time at Brisbane Road Smith became a pivotal member of the squad, and made 239 appearances in six-years in the capital.

A brief spell at Sheffield Wednesday followed, with Smith calling time on his playing career at Port Vale in 2005.

Smith moved into coaching following his retirement, working as a youth coach at Leyton Orient, before returning to Walsall as head of youth in 2009.

He was appointed as the club’s first-team manager in January 2011 following the sacking of Chris Hutchings, and guided the Bescot Stadium outfit to a 14th place finish last term.

The Walsall faithful will be looking towards last seasons’ top-scorer Tom Bradshaw to deliver the goods for them when the campaign gets underway in August.

Born in Shrewsbury, Bradshaw started his career in the youth set up at Welsh Premier League side Aberystwyth Town – turning professional at Park Avenue in 2008.

The 22-year-old would only make four appearances for Aberystwyth, when hometown club Shrewsbury Town came calling in May 2009.

He made an immediate impact with the Shrews, netting a brace on his debut in a 3-0 victory away at Crewe Alexandra in April 2010.

In his five-years at Shrewsbury, Bradshaw would make 89 appearances for the Shropshire outfit – netting 17 times in that spell.

Bradshaw departed the Greenhous Meadow following the Salop’s relegation to League Two in May 2014

The striker linked up with Walsall for £50,000 last summer, and was the club’s top scorer with 17 goals to his name, form which would see him pen a new deal.

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