ALEX SMITHIES is determined to play a full part in future success for Town.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper covered himself in glory at Wembley with what proved to be the decisive penalty shoot-out kick against Sheffield United.
It marked a wonderful end to a season in which Smithies recovered from spending almost a year on the sidelines with knee problems – including one failed comeback bid – and then found his way to the team barred by the form of Ian Bennett.
Smithies played at Wembley only because of the hand injury suffered by 40-year-old Bennett in the play-off semi-final second leg against MK Dons, meaning Nick Colgan had to be called onto the bench at the national stadium by manager Simon Grayson.
“It’s all been a dream come true, really, especially for someone like me who was born in Golcar, has been raised in Huddersfield and supported the club all my life,” said Smithies, who was in the crowd for Town’s last play-off final success against Mansfield at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium (which was also decided by penalties).
“I had so many of my friends and family down at Wembley and they were all there again for the parade to the Civic Reception at the Town Hall, and I’m just glad I’ve been able to make them feel so proud.
“The whole club deserves to be on the up though, and especially our brilliant supporters, who we can’t thank enough for their backing.
“No-one deserves it more than the chairman, though, who should take enormous credit for what has been achieved.
“He was exactly what the club needed when he took over, to help Town get to the next level and, now it’s been achieved, I’m sure he is just as proud as the rest of us.
“What we want to do now is take it a little bit further, but let’s move forward one step at a time and see where it takes us.”