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.
“We are still right up there in the League I table and firmly in the mix with plenty of points to play for, so we’ve got all the incentive we need.
“Teams around us are going to drop points, we know that, so we have to make sure we pick up as many as we can and I think we will have a good push from now to the end of the season.
“We are certainly not ready to be written off by anybody, no way at all, because we know we are good enough to get promoted.
“Yes we’ve had four draws on the trot and it was disappointing not to come away from the Leyton Orient match with a win, but we put our hands up on that one and I can assure everyone there’s plenty more to come from Huddersfield Town.”
Smithies is a lifelong fan, and so are his Golcar-based family, so he knows what it would mean for Town to go into the Championship.
“It would mean everything to us,” he said. “I live only 20 minutes from the ground and I can’t go home without talking about football, so there is no escape for me.
“It really would be great to get out of this division, the club deserves it, the chairman is putting his investment and time into the place and the fans have always backed us magnificently, so it’s time we got out of this league and into the higher one.”