Paul Downing assured on future at Walsall FC

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Boss Dean Smith today reassured Paul Downing he remains in his plans and admitted the defender has been unlucky at Walsall.

The ex-Albion kid has been restricted to just seven appearances as he tries to break up the partnership of Dean Holden and Andy Butler. He was set to replace the banned Butler in today's visit of Yeovil but has had to rely on injuries and suspensions for his chance.

And Smith insisted the 21-year-old has a future at the Saddlers after his summer move from The Hawthorns.

He said: "With the relationship Dean and Andy have formed he's probably been unlucky and I've told him that.

"His performances have been good. He's come to see me to see what my thoughts are and how I think he's doing but the good thing about him is he wants to learn and get better. He's a really good professional.

"He's a good defender, he's a good footballer, he understands the game and knows where to be. All traits for a good defender. He's come through the ranks at West Brom and they thought highly of him to give him a professional contract for a couple of years."

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