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Dean Smith is named Manager of the Month

Sport | Published:

Dean Smith today won League One's Manager of the Month for January to become the first Walsall boss to take the award in almost seven years.

The Banks's Stadium chief claimed the gong after four wins from five games last month propelled the Saddlers to ninth.

Smith beat Swindon's Paolo Di Canio and Yeovil boss Gary Johnson to the award and is the first Walsall manager to win it since Richard Money in November 2006.

He said: "It's been a while and, hopefully, if we continue the form we are in at the moment ,we might get this month's as well.

"It's my first personal achievement as a manager and I do class staying up in my first year as a massive achievement, but this is the first time I have been recognised for something.

"We have had a performance of the week when we beat Hartlepool 5-2 but to get Manager of the Month is a fantastic accolade and I'm really proud of that."

Walsall beat Stevenage, Portsmouth, Preston and Bournemouth in a superb start to 2013 with their only defeat coming in a 2-0 reverse at Colchester.

The award caps a stunning turnaround after the Saddlers went 16 games without a win between September and December.

Including the 1-0 win over Colchester on December 22, Walsall have won eight of their last 10 games and sit seven points adrift of the play-offs.

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Saturday's 2-1 win at joint leaders Doncaster kept them ninth in before wins for Sheffield United, Yeovil and Brentford widen the gap to the top six.

Walsall host managerless Notts County tomorrow just one win away from their survival target of 50 points.

Smith played down the Saddlers' play-off chances this week and is eager for his side to remain under the radar and paid tribute to his players and staff.

He added: "It was as really good month. The only thing which hit it was losing Richard O'Kelly, then February comes and we lost David Kelly.

"It was a really good month for the football club, myself the staff and the players. They have all played a part in getting the award and it was well deserved, because we played some really good stuff."

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