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Dean Smith: It's strange to face my old boys Walsall

Sport | Published:

Ex-boss Dean Smith admits it is a strange feeling to be preparing to take on the Walsall side he built.

The 44-year-old manager enjoyed almost five years in charge at the Banks's before leaving to join Championship outfit Brentford in November.

In a twist of fate, Walsall were drawn against Smith's new employers in the third round of the FA Cup with the teams set go into battle on Saturday.

More than 1,600 Saddlers fans will travel to Griffin Park for the clash and Smith admits it's going to be an odd day. "It's very strange – I know all the players, they are all players that I took to the club after all," Smith said. "It's nice that Walsall have got through to the third round as it's something that I couldn't do with them so I'm looking forward to it.

"The players we will be coming up against are players I know emotionally.

"Walsall's players are a good set of players and I sincerely hope they continue the success they are having at the moment and get promoted."

Like Walsall, Brentford face a hectic January with the Bees back in action on Tuesday and again on Friday in the Championship.

And Smith is wary of the threat Walsall pose.

"We've had a decent week concentrating on Walsall," he said.

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"But the other side of it is that the Football League has decided to give us fixtures straight after it – we've got a game on Tuesday and then another on Friday as well.

"So we've got three home games in six days.

"But I know from my time at Walsall, indeed this season, when we played the likes of Nottingham Forest and Brighton, they changed their teams at their peril in terms of getting a result and getting through to the next round.

"We certainly want to win the game but if we lose I don't think I'll get too much stick. I can say 'my team has beaten my team.'"

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