George Bennett, the Walsall FC reporter for the Express and Star newspaper, provides the inside track on the stopper who moved from the Saddlers to the Reds this week

What was Smith like for Walsall?

He came on loan in the 2022/23 season but didn’t play until the last couple of games when Owen Evans was injured.

He signed permanently but had to wait to get in the team again the next season, playing only in the EFL Trophy until Evans got another injury.

He played in a FA Cup game at Alfreton in November, where he was bombarded by long throws but commanded his box really well and seemed to build on that performance as he kept a lot of clean sheets and helped the team change their league form around.

He came out of the team then back in again in early 2024 and had a strong end to the season, helping Walsall go on an unlikely play-off charge before they missed out.

They conceded 73 goals which is the highest for 13 years but I wouldn’t say that was a reflection on him.

There is possibly still a rawness there but Walsall wanted to keep hold of him and it’s no surprise that he’s got a move to a higher level.

What are his strengths?

He’s a great shot-stopper.

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His distribution is definitely a plus, although he can probably still get even better at that.

He made some long passes which led to goals.

He is confident coming out and claiming crosses and set pieces.

What is he like as a character?

He’s confident in his own ability.

In interviews he talked about the process and understood there was a lot to improve and he hasn’t made it yet.

He had some spells on the bench at first so had to show good attitude and force his way into the team.