Smith tips Bradshaw for Wales call-up

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

TOM Bradshaw reached 20 goals for the sea­son with a brace to sink sorry Old­ham – prompt­ing Wal­sall boss Dean Smith to back him for Wales duty.

The clos­est Bradshaw has come to rep­re­sent­ing his coun­try was an in­clu­sion on the standby list last au­tumn.

But af­ter see­ing his star striker bag 20 goals in a sea­son plagued by ham­string prob­lems, Smith would not be sur­prised if his coun­try came call­ing.

Smith said:“It’s a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for Tom, or any­body to score 20 goals in a sea­son. He can rightly take the plau­dits, be­cause he works ever so hard.

“He’s got to be close to the Wales squad. They will cer­tainly take no­tice of the goals he has scored.

“But hope­fully it’s a side­ward glance be­cause we’ve got more im­por­tant games for him!

“It was a nice way to fin­ish our home games and we’re pleased that we’ve fin­ished with three wins on the spin.”

And the Wal­sall boss is keen to ward off any un­wanted suit­ors look­ing to pinch his lead­ing marks­man this sum­mer.

Smith added:“Tom’s got an­other year’s con­tract and we are in ne­go­ti­a­tions to ex­tend that.

“Peo­ple will take no­tice be­cause of the goals Tom’s scored. But he’s not out of con­tract.We don’t have to sell him to any­one and we’ve had no of­fers.”

Both of Bradshaw’s firsthalf strikes were ad­mit­tedly tinged with con­tro­versy.

First, he looked off­side when latch­ing on to Jordy Hi­wula’s 18th-minute through pass and coolly dinked over Lat­ics ‘keeper Joel Cole­man.

Six min­utes later, Bradshaw slammed home his sec­ond of the game from the spot with Old­ham fum­ing about a penalty award against skip­per Liam Kelly on Mal Ben­ning.

Wal­sall should have won by more but Cole­man saved well from Hi­wula be­fore the break, and both Sam Man­tom and Hi­wula wasted sec­ond-half oneon-one chances.

Victory in this mid-ta­ble dead rub­ber moved Wal­sall into the top half but a list­less Lat­ics dis­play did care­taker boss Dean Holden’s hopes of land­ing the job per­ma­nently no favours.

Holden said: “It was a flat per­for­mance, cer­tainly in the fi­nal third.We were nowhere near pos­i­tive enough.

“They’ve hit us on the counter and got the first goal and a de­ci­sion has gone against us for the sec­ond and it’s dif­fi­cult to get back in af­ter that.

“I’ve got to be care­ful be­cause it looks like you are blam­ing the re­sult or the per­for­mance on the ref­eree and that’s not the case. But when they go against you, it’s tough to take.

“That’s not the rea­son we lost the game, although of course the sec­ond goal­goes against you and we’ve got a moun­tain to climb then.”

STAR MAN TOM BRADS

HAW Wal­sal

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