ALEX SMITHIES is back challenging for the No1 shirt and Nick Colgan confirmed: “I rate him very, very highly.”
The home-grown keeper – who is 21 tomorrow when Town tackle Yeovil at Huish Park – has recovered from knee surgery and is now back in training and back on the bench (at Hartlepool on Tuesday).
Colgan, who missed out on a place in the 18 as a result, commented: “Alex is young and enthusiastic and he has a real desire to keep the ball out of the goal – so I rate him very, very highly.
“I really enjoy his enthusiasm and while I haven’t seen much of Alex playing ‘live’ as it were, I’ve heard great things about him and if he continues to work hard he’ll be a goalkeeper with a wonderful future in front of him.”
Colgan is thriving on being part of the Town squad challenging for promotion and training with both Smithies and the vastly-experienced Ian Bennett.
“Ian is obviously at a different stage of his career to Alex, and he knows exactly what he needs from training to maintain his levels of fitness and focus to go out and perform the way he is doing at the moment,” he explained.
“Ian is doing a wonderful job. In my previous month here I don’t think he put a foot wrong and I believe Ian has just signed for another year here, and rightly so.
“His performances more than merit that and if I can play a part in any way between now and the end of the season, whether it’s on the field or supporting the keepers from the background, then I’ll be very happy indeed.”
Smithies hasn’t started a match since the win at Walsall on January 15.