IT’S CIT­I­ZEN SMITH!

Striker Matt Smith looks to get some game time on loan at Bris­tol City

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Joshua Richards

The 6ft 6ins Smith joined Bris­tol City on a two-month loan from Ful­ham this week, hav­ing played just 38 min­utes for the Cot­tagers since his Au­gust trans­fer from Leeds.

The 25-year-old has had to come to terms with fall­ing out of favour with the Whites’ owner Mas­simo Cellino, just days after sign­ing a new three-year deal at El­land Road, as well as Cot­tagers chief Kit Sy­mons, who has not handed Smith a start­ing berth since he saw red 18 min­utes into his de­but in a 3-0 de­feat at Read­ing for a bad tackle.

His first out­ing for the Robins was also from the bench – a seven-minute cameo as his new club re­turned to the top of the tree with vic­tory over Peter­bor­ough last week­end.

Ful­ham have not granted Bris­tol City per­mis­sion to field Smith in the FA Cup this week­end, denying him the chance to re­peat the hero­ics that saw him shoot to promi­nence with a dou­ble as Old­ham dumped Liver­pool out of the FA Cup in 2013, be­fore he net­ted in the fi­nal minute to earn a re­play against Ever­ton in the next round.

But Smith is sure his time will come over a busy fes­tive pe­riod to re­mind ob­servers of his ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“It’s been a roller­coaster six months,” said Smith, who com­pleted a de­gree in In­ter­na­tional Man­age­ment with Amer­i­can Business Stud­ies, be­fore join­ing Old­ham from Soli­hull Moors in 2011.

“I’ve gone from tick­ing along nicely at Leeds to Ful­ham and now Bris­tol. I’m not en­tirely sure how it’s hap­pened, but that’s the na­ture of foot­ball. I still feel as though I’ve come a long way since 2011.

“It was only re­ally on the back end of a good sea­son in the Con­fer­ence North that the op­por­tu­nity to go into the game full-time arose. I’d had three job in­ter­views, two in London.

“I was sur­prised to get a new con­tract at Leeds, be­cause I’d heard vibes that the new owner was look­ing to move me on. When I got the con­tract I was de­lighted, I loved my time at Leeds.

“But three days after I signed I came into train­ing and was told the owner had put six play­ers on the trans­fer list, and I was one of them.

“I feel very for­tu­nate that Ful­ham came in. They are a fan­tas­tic club with a bril­liant set up and made me feel very wel­come. I was dev­as­tated the way my de­but went, since then the team has done well and I haven’t been able to get back in.

“I spoke a few times to Kit Sy­mons re­gard­ing my lack of play­ing time. He was al­ways hon­est and ap­proach­able and re­as­sured me I was im­por­tant to him, but we dis­cussed the op­tion of go­ing out on loan.

“I felt I’d found my feet in the di­vi­sion and wasn’t sure what to make of a move away from the Cham­pi­onship at first, but Bris­tol City are ef­fec­tively a club who should be in the Cham­pi­onship, so it’s been great since I’ve been here.

“It’s a great club and I have a ter­rific op­por­tu­nity to re­ally boost my con­fi­dence again.”

Smith’s big­gest chal­lenge over the next two months will be to break the part­ner­ship be­tween Kieran Agard and Aaron Wil­bra­ham that has brought 17 league goals al­ready this term.

But the gi­ant striker is ready to con­quer his lat­est chal­lenge.

“The team are where they are for a rea­son,” he added. “Ev­ery­one is fir­ing, par­tic­u­larly Kieran and Aaron, but there are a lot of league games to come over the next two months, as well as the cup com­pe­ti­tions, so I’m sure I’ll get my chance.

“It’s go­ing well. It’s been easy to set­tle in, there is a ter­rific team spirit at the club. There is a feel­ing around the place they are on the verge of some­thing spe­cial this sea­son and, I think with the way things are set up, they should achieve their aim of pro­mo­tion.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

TOW­ER­ING: Matt Smith, top, scores for Leeds against Burn­ley

SHORT STAY: Matt Smith sent off on his Ful­ham de­but

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.