ALEX SMITHIES reckons Town are ready to match last season’s win at Hartlepool tonight and give themselves a three-point tonic to kick-off a vital month in the promotion campaign.
The trip to Victoria Park comes after four successive draws and with Lee Clark’s side embarking on a March programme which also includes trips to Yeovil, Bristol Rovers and Brentford in addition to Galpharm meetings with Rochdale, Swindon and Notts County.
It’s a busy spell which will shape the chase for automatic promotion and Smithies – who has missed the last 10 matches but is returning to full training – says his colleagues are far from ready to miss out.
“Over the last few games we would have liked to have picked up more points than we have but we are going up to Hartlepool preparing to do all we can to win the game,” said Smithies, who has been back to regular goalkeeping work for over a week.
“Four draws in a row is not ideal for a team pushing for promotion, we all know that, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of games to play and we will go into everyone of them, including Hartlepool, knowing we are capable of winning it.
“Chasing promotion is not going to be easy – when is it ever easy? – but we have got the players, the management and the staff who can do it, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.
“We are all pulling together and the focus is on getting some good results in the next few matches and really pushing on.
“As I’ve said, we know it won’t be easy against anyone, but we know we have the ability to grind out the results we need and, at this stage of the season, that means as many wins as possible both home and away.”
A member of the England Under 21 squad, the 6ft 3in 20-year-old accepts he’ll have to battle to regain his place ahead of the impressive Ian Bennett and his experienced back-up, Nick Colgan, but he’s more concerned that Town continue to put points on the board.
“It’s all about the team and achieving what we want come the end of the season,” added Smithies.