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Manset will improve with fitness - Saddlers' Smith

Sport | Published:

Walsall boss Dean Smith insists fans will see the best of Mathieu Manset once the Saddlers' signing is fit.

Manset endured a difficult debut in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Scunthorpe after signing for the club last week.

But Smith, who tracked the Frenchman throughout pre-season before finally landing his man, insists the 25-year-old will flourish once he catches up on fitness. Smith, who gave Manset a full 90 minutes against the Iron, said: "The pace of the game at Scunthorpe was tough for him and he did not get much change out of Miles Addison.

"He has played at a higher level so it was always going to be tough.

"We thought we would only get 60 to 65 minutes out of him but we had to leave him on.

"It's disappointing because we kept putting the ball onto Addison's head. He is renowned for heading the ball and we kept putting it up there.

Punt

"But Mathieu will get better when he gets fitter and we know that. It was probably a punt to throw him in on Saturday but we went for it."

Saturday's game saw the first outing for Walsall's new-look strike pairing as Manset partnered ex-Shrewsbury forward Tom Bradshaw in attack. And Bradshaw is confident they can develop an understanding.

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"It didn't work out like we hoped it would work out but we have a full week to get a few training sessions under our belt and build on our relationship ¬ not only me and Mathieu but as a team," said Bradshaw.

"Hopefully it will go from strength to strength.

"He is big and strong and can compete in the air, he can score goals like he showed in pre-season and he can provide them too.

"It is an exciting prospect for me to be playing up there with him."

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