Dean Smith targets new striker for Walsall FC
Dean Smith today admitted finding a new striker will be a priority for Walsall this summer – after welcoming a £50,000 boost to the Saddlers coffers.
Brentford's promotion to the Championship over the Easter weekend means the Saddlers will get the bonus – which was a condition of striker Will Grigg's move to the Bees last summer.
A portion of the money will go into Smith's playing budget as he looks to strengthen his squad over the summer.
Lack of goals is widely accepted to be the main reason for the recent slide from play-off contenders to the middle of the pack. Smith's men have scored just 47 in 44 league games.
And Smith was left scratching his head once more yesterday after his side were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Gillingham despite dominating large portions of the game.
The manager admits finding a new striker will be top of the agenda as he hunts new recruits.
"We have known that for the last six weeks certainly," he said.
"We will look and see what's out there.
"It's how we recruit in the summer which will decide the season we have next year."
With loan trio Michael Ngoo, Milan Lalkovic and Febian Brandy all heading back to their parent clubs and Troy Hewitt and top scorer Craig Westcarr both out of contract, the Saddlers forward line may be in for a considerable rebuild.
Westcarr returned yesterday after missing three games through suspension but Smith refused to discuss the 29-year-old's future afterward, insisting all contract discussion will be left till the end of the season. But the manager did confirm left-back Andy Taylor's omission from the starting XI was down to loss of form and not injury.
"I don't think Andy has played up to the standards he set himself earlier in the season and we decided to bring Mal back in," said Smith.
"Mal is a very forward thinking player and he is one we have got a lot of time for and we think a lot of time for to keep getting better."
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