SAM SMITH: I can’t wait to get going again

Reds first-team defender Sam Smith says he can’t wait to get going again once football at our level resumes following his decision to extend his stay at Borough Park.

Smith penned a new contract yesterday at the 26-year-old has been at the club since his youth days.

Chatting over the phone this weekend, the West Cumbrian explained: “There’s obviously been a bit of time where we’ve not been sure what’s happening but personally, I’ve just been focused on next season for a while and hoping Danny [Grainger] and Ruddy [assistant Steven Rudd] wanted to retain me.

“Danny rang me the other day so it was reassuring to know that I’m a key member of the team, something which makes you feel good, personally.

“I can’t wait to get going and, even though we might be playing some games before it, I’m focussing on next season and getting finished what should’ve been finished a long time ago, and get that promotion.”

It’s expected that the current 2020/21 campaign, like its predecessor, will be ruled null and void and despite playing just nine Northern Premier League games, the term was full of tribulations on and off the pitch, as Smith explained.

“It was tough, you just want that Saturday-Tuesday routine.

“It’s been the same for every club, stop-start, and you’ve got to keep yourself fit but you just want to be kicking the ball about at the end of the day.”

However, the only man in the first-team squad to have played a century of matches for both the reserve and senior side believes his teammates handled the difficulties well..

“It’s been tough but the lads dealt with it well, when we came back we were in good shape, unbeaten in the league and I know we will again,” Smith stated.

“It’s just going to make us want it more, heading into next season knowing that it has a very good chance of being completed.

“There were a few doubts last season but the lads adapted to it well, everyone was at training in high spirits and it wasn’t easy at times doing social distancing but if we can go into next season like that, I know we’ll get there.”

Having conceded just 34 goals in 40 NPL matches since the start of last season, Smith’s displays have gone hand-in-hand with partner Dan Wordsworth, who re-signed yesterday, who he knows well from his years at BP.

“I’ve known Goose since the reserves days and under different managers, we’ve played together.

“We’d obviously gone down when the team was struggling for confidence and form but over the last couple of years, we’ve proven as back four, I feel, that we are the best in the league.

Continuing, the left-sided defender said: “We know each other well on and off the field, we both suit how we play together and you don’t want to let a mate down next to you, that’s what Danny always says, never let down the man next to you.

“If I do anything wrong, Goose will tell me and vice-versa so I think we bring the best out of each other.

“It was proven in the last game we played [a crushing 2-2 draw at Brighouse Town] when we conceded in the last minute, it felt like a defeat because we’d defended well all game and everyone was putting themselves on the line not wanting to concede.

“I feel Goose and I set a good standard for that.”

Read Wordsworth’s words here.

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