Dean Smith today reaffirmed his belief in Walsall’s “long-term project” after agreeing a 12-month contract extension.
The Saddlers boss signed a new two-and-a-half year contract only 12 months ago and the latest deal will keep him at the Banks’s until the summer of 2016.
Smith has overseen a turnaround since taking over with the club mired in the League One relegation zone in January 2011, last season leading them to a ninth-placed finish despite operating with one of the division’s smallest playing budgets.
Under his guidance, the Saddlers have focused on bringing through young players from the academy and recently gave longer-term deals to James Baxendale and Paul Downing.
“I’m pleased to extend my contract,” said Smith. “I said from the very start that this was always going to be a long-term project and we’re still in the early stages of that, but things are certainly progressing well.
“I want to continue building for the future of this club and while I am offering the players longer-term deals, it gives it more credence if I have the same.
“This club is known for trying to do things the correct way and we are investing in the infrastructure to make it a more forward-thinking place with solid foundations.”
Smith also hinted there will be a new deal for assistant Richard O’Kelly, who returned the Banks’s in the summer.
“It’s not just Saturday to Saturday, or even season to season, this is a long-term plan and I am pleased to be leading the club in the direction that we want to go,” added Smith.
“It also allows me to sit down with Richard O’Kelly, who has been a big part of what we are trying to achieve here, and put plans in place to secure his future with the club.”
Chief executive Stefan Gamble said: “Dean has obviously been instrumental in the team’s improvement on the pitch since taking over. It was therefore important to tie him down to a longer term deal to enable him to continue the progress made to date.”