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Smith is still my player - Mackay
Published : 23 Aug 2009 11:32:23
But he reiterated his belief that Tommy Smith is "one of the top three players in the league" after watching him score one and create the other. Smith is expected to leave Vicarage Road before the close of the transfer window, despite rejecting the opportunity to join Sheffield United after the Hornets accepted a £1.8m offer. Reading are thought to be his preferred destination, but have still to agree terms with his current club. There has also been speculation linking Newcastle and Portsmouth with a move for the versatile striker. "The situation is he's a Watford player and, as of tonight, he's still my player," said Mackay. "I've waxed lyrically about Tommy over the last couple of weeks and I would only add to that, that I think he is a top professional who I think is one of the top three players in the league. "He's also a good a character, a good character means someone that wants to turn up everyday and give his best and play with his team-mates and give his best in games and right now he's still got a year left on his contract, so there's no reason for him not to go out there and play well." Blackpool boss Ian Holloway said: "There were times when Smith was an unbelievable threat and if they can hold on to him, good luck to them. "I can't see them hanging on to him, he's Premiership standard." As for the game, Mackay said: "I feel with the amount of chances we had today we should have won the game. Blackpool came to frustrate and we created so many chances today." However, Holloway disagreed strongly: "What we didn't do was attack well enough with the possession that we had. "With our two wide men and our front three, never did I bring my people back and defend with five across the middle. "If he thinks I'm going to come here and defend against Watford he's got another thing coming." The visitors looked like they might be in for a hard afternoon when Danny Graham found Smith in plenty of space in the area to confidently score in the 23rd minute. Watford had the better chances thereafter - including when Don Cowie hit the bar from 25 yards - but the visitors were back on terms after 56 minutes. Keeper Scott Loach was unable to hold a header from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, making his first professional start, and the ball crossed the line before Alex Baptiste, who was credited with the goal, could apply the finishing touch. Within seven minutes though, Watford were back in front. Smith was the creator this time with his run and cross from the left picking out Tom Cleverley, who scored his second in as many appearance since signing on loan from Manchester United. But the visitors refused to lie down and they pulled level for a second time with 18 minutes remaining when the impressive Charlie Adam squeezed in a cross from the right side of the penalty area and Gary Taylor-Fletcher converted from close range. However, the Hornets almost won it deep into injury-time when visiting keeper Paul Rachubka excelled to touch a curling shot from John Eustace onto a post.