FA Cup: Dean Smith reunion possibility an incentive for Walsall

Walsall joint-caretaker manager John Ward and Chesterfield caretaker boss Mark Smith
Walsall joint-caretaker boss John Ward and Chesterfield caretaker manager Mark Smith still found time for a laugh, despite being on adjoining benches at the Proact Stadium

Walsall's staff and players say they have been handed a "massive incentive" for the Saddlers to win next week's FA Cup second-round replay, after being paired with Dean Smith's Brentford.

The Saddlers host Chesterfield on Tuesday knowing that victory will pair them with their former boss in round three at Griffin Park on 9 January.

"It's a massive incentive to win now," said joint-caretaker boss Neil Cutler.

"WhatsApp went a bit mad," added Saddlers defender James O'Connor.

"To come up against your old gaffer so quick, it's fate. It's one we're looking forward to and I'm sure the fans will be as well.

"We had a nice run in the League Cup and it would be nice to go as far as we can in this too."

Walsall face league rematch with Fleetwood
Before Walsall meet Chesterfield in Tuesday's FA Cup second-round replay, they have a League One fixture to negotiate at Fleetwood, who they beat 2-0 in the first round just a month ago.

The fun between Walsall and Brentford, who took not only Smith but also his number two Richard O'Kelly, began on Monday night after the Saddlers were handed the possibility of that trip to Brentford - just a week after Smith had opted to make his own journey.

But Cutler warns that Walsall are not there yet and that attempting to see off Mark Smith's Spireites at the second attempt is no formality.

They certainly had a battle against Chesterfield - also under caretaker management - in such tough conditions in Saturday's 1-1 draw, where they were denied by an injury-time equaliser.

"We've still got a big game against Chesterfield to get through and we're under no illusions that will be tough," Cutler said.

"At least the conditions should be totally different and allow us to play our normal game."

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