Dean Smith: Walsall 'halfway to Wembley' after first-leg win

Dean Smith
Walsall boss Dean Smith has been in charge of the League One club since January 2011

Walsall manager Dean Smith says his side are "halfway" to Wembley following Wednesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final first-leg win at Preston.

Late goals from Anthony Forde and Tom Bradshaw gave Walsall the advantage ahead of the return leg on 27 January.

"It's brilliant that we got a result and we're halfway to Wembley, but we know it's going to be tough in the second leg," Smith told BBC WM 95.6.

"It could give the whole town a lift, if we were to get to Wembley."

Change of date for JPT area final second leg
The second leg of Walsall's Johnstone's Paint Trophy area final has been moved forward a week to Tuesday 27 January (19:45 GMT) to avoid a potential clash should Preston's FA Cup fourth round tie against Sheffield United three days earlier (Saturday 24 January, 15:00 GMT) end in a draw.

The Saddlers are one of only four of English football's top 92 clubs never to have played at Wembley - the others being Hartlepool, Accrington and Crawley.

"It would be absolutely brilliant," added 21-year-old winger Forde. "We were under a bit of pressure in the first half but we stayed strong and we got our two goals.

"The second leg is going to be tough because they're going to come at us, because they know they need to get a big result at our place. We need to be ready for that and I think we will be."

Smith added: "I was really pleased with how we went out in the second half. We looked the fitter of the two teams towards the end. We know, with what they threw at us in the first half, that it will be a tough game at the Banks's Stadium."