Dean Smith: Walsall reaching Wembley would be a 'triumph'

Dean Smith
Dean Smith played at Wembley for Leyton Orient in 2011.

Walsall boss Dean Smith says it would be a "personal triumph" if the Saddlers can reach the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final and play at Wembley for the fist time in the club's history.

The Saddlers go into Tuesday's sell-out semi-final second leg against Preston North End at Bescot with a 2-0 lead.

Late goals at Deepdale by Anthony Forde and Tom Bradshaw give them the edge.

But Smith warns: "We've done half a job so far and that's all it is. We've got to be at our best."

He told BBC WM 95.6: "It has to be good to get through to what is a great cherry, but your cushion is only as good as your next performance."

Home woes for Walsall
Walsall, who have won just five of 16 home games in all competitions this season, have lost their last three at Bescot, conceding 10 goals. Bizarrely, that sequence runs alongside a run of three straight away victories.
Along with Hartlepool, Accrington and Crawley, they are one of only four sides in the current Football League never to have played at Wembley.

Experience is an area Smith wants to capitalise on as the Saddlers, who have struggled at the Banks's Stadium since Christmas, bid to avoid any further slip-ups on home soil.

And he sees the 34-year-old Chambers twins - Adam and James - as key players to counter a North End side not short on experience and nous themselves, with the likes of Kevin Davies, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Jermaine Beckford, Paul Gallagher and Neil Kilkenny in their ranks.

"Adam and James have seen a lot," said Smith. "James has been promoted in the play-offs with Watford to the Premier League and has played in big games.

"Adam is 34 and had a good career in the game and he's yet to play at Wembley, so what a chance for him."

"It's a great opportunity," Adam Chambers told BBC WM. "It's what you play football for. You've got to embrace it, You've got to enjoy the moment."