ALEX SMITHIES aims to be the man in the bright orange shirt when Lee Clark’s Town celebrate promotion to the Championship.
The 19-year-old England Under 19 cap has played a keystone role in Town’s away victory double and is looking to cash in with another when Southend visit the Galpharm on Saturday.
Smithies is determined Town finish as near the top six as possible this term and is keen to maintain his current form now a four-and-a-half year deal is signed, sealed and delivered.
“Realistically, we can only look to win each match and see where we end up, and the lads are keen to push all the way towards the play-offs,” said Smithies.
“Coming back home after two away wins is a great feeling for us all because we know we are playing well as a team.
“I’m my own biggest critic, so I’m always looking to improve, but it was nice to make some saves at Hereford and Bristol Rovers and we’ll be looking to do well as a defensive unit again in the Southend game.”
On the future, he added: “It was a big weight off my shoulders when I finally signed the contract because I love the club and playing here.
“I’m thankful to everyone who supported me along the way and I’m delighted to have made the decision. When it comes to football I tend to focus only on that, but off the field the whole thing was becoming a bit of a distraction.
“People helped me cope quite well, though, I’m 100% certain it’s the right thing and I’m just hoping to help us get promoted in the next couple of seasons.”
As Town prepare to announce their season-ticket deal tomorrow, manager Lee Clark will be keeping a close eye on injury-niggle duo Jim Goodwin and Anthony Pilkington.
“Anthony took a kick on a calf muscle early in the second half at Bristol,” explained Clark.
“But he’ll be able to play through it and he should be fine.
“Jim (Goodwin) also took a bit of a kick, but he should also be fine for the weekend.”