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Mackay praises 'sound pro' Smith
Published : 19 Aug 2009 08:49:14
He scored one goal and had a leading hand in two others in the Championship victory at The City Ground but Watford manager Malky Mackay revealed that the club were considering an "increased bid" for the talented front man. Mackay said: "Even though there has been much speculation surrounding Tommy, I knew there was no problem playing him because he is such a sound professional. "I have played against him, with him and now coached him and I knew nothing would bother him. He's nigh on the best player in training each day and we know what we are going to get from him when he goes onto the field. "He showed what he is all about tonight and obviously I want to keep my best players. But I also realise that the club has to go forward and there are other considerations. "Tommy played his part in what was an excellent display and I think we got the rewards for having the courage to go out there and play against a good Forest side." Smith's far post cross that was met by a Danny Graham header to give Watford a 31st minute lead but the visitors were fortunate to survive a red card scare when defender Mike Williamson clearly handled to prevent Robert Earnshaw homing in on goal. But Forest were level on the stroke of half-time when Chris Gunter and Paul McKenna combined for McKenna to deliver the perfect ball into the box, where Dexter Blackstock bundled it home. Forest might have been expected to go on and get their first win but when Smith headed against the bar in the 77th minute, Williamson prodded in the rebound. Three minutes later Smith picked up possession 25 yards out and created space for a low shot past Lee Camp to give Watford a two-goal cushion. Substitute Dele Adebola gave Forest some hope with an 87th minute reply after being put through by David McGoldrick but Watford had the final word when Tom Cleverley marked his arrival on loan from Manchester United with a thunderous finish after Jon Harley had set him up. Forest boss Billy Davies admitted: "We were out-battled by a side who showed us how to win a dogged game. "I don't want to make excuses but had the Watford player been sent off, as he should have been, it might have been very different. I've seen the film and it was blatant handball. "But overall I've no complaints because Watford showed a better attitude on the night - that's the bottom line. "In my own mind, however, I am confident that results will come for us when we get the balance right in our back four. We are playing with square pegs in round holes at the moment and it doesn't work." Forest's plight was not helped by news that midfielder Lewis McGugan had fractured a cheekbone in a 25th-minute clash with keeper Scott Loach.