Walsall's Dean Smith: Manager of the month lauds motivated players

Walsall players celebrate Milan Lalkovic's equaliser in the League Cup win over Brighton
Walsall's League Cup win over Brighton was this season's second over Championship opposition

Walsall boss Dean Smith says his players' shared motivation was the key to him winning the League One manager of the month award for August.

The unbeaten Saddlers won four of their five matches to go top of League One.

They also reached the League Cup third round by beating Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Brighton.

"It's down to continuity, of having a lot of players together for a number of years, with the motivation to drive each other on," Smith told BBC WM.

"We have players who have the desire to be successful. It's that will to win which is what has produced results.

Goals flowing so far for Saddlers
Walsall have so far scored 11 goals in five League One games, along with six more in the League Cup. Their only black spot was Tuesday night's blank at Morecambe when last season's Johnstone's Paint Trophy finalists lost 2-0 to bow out of this year's competition at the first time of asking.

"It's been quite easy as a manager. I've just been able to pick teams who go out there and perform while I know I'm going to get everything from them. And, when they do blow up I've been able to put on really good players off the bench."

Media playback is not supported on this device

Walsall players make it easy - Smith

Smith, manager of the month only once before in his career, is not alarmed by the supposed 'curse' of winning the award.

The last time he won it, in January 2013, the Saddlers went unbeaten for another three months, and did not lose until the final game of the season.

"I don't believe in that at all," he said. "It certainly didn't curse me then because we went on a great run. Hopefully we can have another really good run and continue the form we're in."

Walsall aim to extend their unbeaten run on Saturday at home to promoted Bury, who are yet to win this season, but have drawn four of their first five games, including both previous away matches at Doncaster and Crewe.