Sam Smith says Reds can start now building following the first-team’s second successive pre-season friendly win.
Defender Smith, who played the second half of the 2-6 win against Penrith, was speaking on a range of topics at Frenchfield Park post-match.
“I’m feeling good,” Smith said on being back playing. “We were set challenges while we were off and I think we’ve come back in better shape than any other summer.
“It’s even better that we’re knocking a ball about again and playing contact sport.
“Everyone’s happy and we can start building now.”
Seaton-based Smith, along with regular centre-back partner Dan Wordsworth, received plenty of praise last term as only one team conceded fewer goals than Reds’ 25 throughout the 31-game campaign.
The 26-year-old, who has been at Borough Park since 2013, was asked about his accolades but put team success before the individual.
“The first thing you want is for the team to do well, which we did – you can’t take that away from anyone.
“I think Goose [Dan Wordsworth] and I did build a good partnership.
“I’m looking forward to working with him again but we’ve got competition. In every single spot, no one’s guaranteed their place as the manager said.”
“That’s the way it should be if we’ve got competition it’s only going to make us better.”
Like the rest of the squad, Smith has had a year of playing in manager Danny Grainger’s system and believes the team will only improve with more work.
“We’ve had a full year now and I think we all bought into it very well.
“We’ve proven it by the fact we should’ve gone up but I’m sure we’ll be trying new things like Danny and Ruddy have both said.
“I’m sure we’ll all adapt well again, we’ll only get stronger and it does take time to adapt.
“The more the season we went on, we started adapting more and putting runs together which put us further clear at the top.
“If we do the same this year, I’m sure we’ll go one better.”