‘GUT­TED’ MATT TO CHEER ON ROBINS

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

TOW­ER­ING striker Matt Smith played a vi­tal role in en­sur­ing Bris­tol City reached Wem­b­ley to­day and will be on the side­lines to cheer his old team on – but has vowed not to “do a John Terry” and gate­crash any po­ten­tial cel­e­bra­tions.

De­spite be­ing suspended for the 2012 Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, Chelsea cap­tain Terry still changed into full kit to lift the tro­phy and did so again when in­jured 12 months later as the Blues won the Europa League.

Smith scored all five of Bris­tol City’s goals in their JPT south­ern area fi­nal win over Gilling­ham, in­clud­ing four at Pri­est­field, be­fore his three-month loan from Ful­ham ex­pired, and will be­come an hon­orary mem­ber of the squad to­day af­ter be­ing in­vited to do so by manager Steve Cot­ter­ill.

But should City beat Wal­sall, Smith – who scored 13 goals in 20 games at Ash­ton Gate – prom­ises cel­e­bra­tions will be muted.

“I’m not do­ing a John Terry, I’ll just watch from the side­lines,” the 6ft 6in front­man told BBC Ra­dio Bris­tol.“I was made to feel ex­tremely wel­come in my three months at the club and felt a big part of the set-up. I was made to feel like an in­te­gral mem­ber of the squad and I’ll be re­ally des­per­ate for them to win on Sun­day.

“Hope­fully I will meet up with the squad early on Sun­day morn­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence the en­tire day with them. I still look out for their re­sults and hope they will achieve pro­mo­tion too, which they de­serve.”

Smith will be mak­ing his third visit to the na­tional sta­dium, though is yet to do so as a player.

He took in Wi­gan’s FA Cup fi­nal tri­umph over Manch­ester City in 2013 as a re­ward for hav­ing been named the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s Player of the Round af­ter earn­ing for­mer club Old­ham a re­play against Pre­mier League Ever­ton in the last 16.

And the 25-year-old has been a guest of Ful­ham chair­man Shahid Khan when his NFL fran­chise Jack­sonville Jaguars most re­cently graced the Wem­b­ley turf.

But Smith ad­mits his is han­ker­ing for a run out of his own.

“Play­ing at Wem­b­ley is the pin­na­cle of foot­ball,” he added. “I’m chuffed the Bris­tol City boys will ex­pe­ri­ence that. I’m a bit gut­ted to miss out per­son­ally, but hope­fully that is some­thing to come in the fu­ture and I have a bit more mo­ti­va­tion now to go there my­self.”

CITY SLICKER: Matt Smith cel­e­brates scor­ing for Bris­tol City

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