Express & Star

Dean Smith: Tom Bradshaw value to rocket with scoring spree

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Dean Smith is tipping Tom Bradshaw to smash through last season's goal tally while warning potential suitors it will take a "hell of a lot of money" to get the striker out of Walsall.


The 23-year-old made a super start to his second season with the Saddlers by blasting a hat-trick in this week's 4-3 Capital One Cup win at Nottingham Forest.

Bradshaw proved a revelation last term, netting 20 goals following a move from Shrewsbury and Smith believes he will better the record this year, claiming the forward is already a better player.

It is believed Walsall have turned down a bid from League One rivals Swindon Town for Bradshaw.

"I believe Tom will go and surpass his record from last season because I think he is a much better player than last season, which is saying a lot," said the manager, whose team visit Southend tomorrow. "His hold up play is better, he makes more intelligent runs now.

"I think his understanding of the game is getting better and tactically, he is a clever kid.

"He has a full season under his belt and is a lot more mature now."

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Smith acknowledges more performances like Tuesday will increase the striker's profile but with Bradshaw having signed a one-year contract extension in the summer is confident he will remain at the Banks's for the foreseeable future.

"I think the club have shown their intent by getting Tom to sign a new contract and I think Tom has shown his as well," said Smith.

"There is no doubting he would want to go and play at a higher level.

"But we are at a stage now where if anyone comes in it is going to take a hell of a lot of money, because it would take a hell of a lot of money to replace him."

Smith meanwhile confirmed he hopes to make another addition to his squad early next week after confirming he is in talks with an as yet unnamed player. The Saddlers boss is eager to add strength in depth to his defence.

The fitness of skipper Adam Chambers and defender Andy Taylor (both knee) are being assessed ahead of tomorrow's game.