Mackay: Smith is still my player

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Malky Mackay was frustrated his Watford side were held 2-2 by the Championship's early-season draw specialists Blackpool - 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.

``The situation is he's a Watford player and, as of now, 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 continued: ``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 we should have won the game. Blackpool came to frustrate and we created so many chances.''

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.''

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Premier League
Malky Mackay
Tommy Smith
Sheffield United
Tommy Smith

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