Highly-rated young Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone will have the opportunity to outline his credentials for a future first-team career at Old Trafford after the teenager signed for Walsall for the remainder of the season.
The England under-19 international is the fifth goalkeeper the Saddlers have had this season, and moves to the Bescot Stadium on loan following Aaron McCarey's return to Wolves after the freak injury sustained by Aaron McCarey.
Johnstone will make his Walsall debut against Hartlepool on Saturday, and manager Dean Jones has no problems immediately throwing the youngster into the club's push to be promoted from League One.
"It was unfortunate that Aaron was recalled, but he will be replaced by a very able lad in Sam Johnstone," Smith told the official Walsall website. "I know that Manchester United have high aspirations for him and he has already had a couple of previous loan spells at this level, so he knows what it’s all about.
"I know a lot about the lad and watched him in action recently. I’ve had some very positive reports on him and am delighted to be able to bring him on board until the end of the season."
Johnstone has yet to make his first-team debut for Manchester United, but has been able to establish himself as an important member of the the Old Trafford club's reserve side.
The 19-year-old, set to turn 20 next week, has become accustomed to spells away from Manchester United, and his move to Walsall will be his third loan switch in the past couple of seasons, having enjoyed temporary stays with Oldham and Scunthorpe.