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Dean Smith: Romaine Sawyers is 'unsung'

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Walsall manager Dean Smith has hailed the unsung contribution of Romaine Sawyers - but admitted the forward "splits opinion" among Saddlers fans.

Smith hopes the former Albion trainee can keep on improving after ending his five-month goal drought in Tuesday's 3-3 draw at Swindon.

That came after Sawyers, who has been criticised by a section of supporters, was dropped from the starting line-up.

But Smith hopes stepping off the bench and scoring will boost Sawyers' confidence.

The Saddlers boss said: "I hope so. He is terrific to work with, the players know his value to the club and the team.

"He divides opinions and I can see that, especially when he has not scored for a while. It was right to take him out when we did.

"I did say to him, when I told him in the hotel he wasn't playing, that he would get the chance to come on and, when he did, go and show people what they were missing.

"He certainly did with a near post header which was well saved and then scoring. Hopefully there is more of that to come."

Sawyers has been a regular starter for Smith since making the move from the Baggies, with the Banks's Stadium boss describing the 23-year-old as having a 'Premier League brain'.

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But his recent displays have brought criticism from the stands as the Saddlers flirted with the League One relegation zone.

Smith said: "He divides opinion at times and we think he is a terrific talent, but the talent needs to score more goals and create more assists.

"He does a great job for the team without the ball which sometimes goes unnoticed. It is not unnoticed in the dressing room by his peers.

"He is a great lad and I wanted to just take him out the firing line for a little bit and change the system."

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