GAME AT THE LANE WOULD CAP HARRY’S RAPID RISE...

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By John Lyons

LAST sea­son Harry Smith was play­ing for Folke­stone Invicta in Ry­man Di­vi­sion One South.

Next Sun­day the 21-yearold could be play­ing for Mill­wall in an FA Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against Tot­ten­ham at White Hart Lane.

Such has been the turn­around in the life of the tow­er­ing striker that noth­ing would sur­prise him. It may well be that the vastly ex­pe­ri­enced Steve Mori­son is fit and avail­able to lead the line against Spurs af­ter a groin prob­lem, but Smith is just happy to be in the mix.

He said: “It’s the last ever FA Cup game at White Hart Lane and there will be 4,000odd Mill­wall fans so it would be pretty much a dream to play there.

“Who­ever the man­ager picks, we’ll be con­fi­dent we can go there and cause an up­set. If he picks me, then bril­liant.”

Smith has made a de­cent start to his pro ca­reer. He’s al­ready net­ted six goals across league, FA Cup and Check­a­trade Tro­phy – in­clud­ing a hat-trick in a 5-2 FA Cup sec­ond round romp against Brain­tree.

But he’s the first to ad­mit that he’s still got a lot to work on as he makes the tran­si­tion from semi-pro foot­ball.

“It’s a mas­sive step up,” he said. “It’s not just train­ing, it’s get­ting used to be­ing a good pro off the pitch as well, be­ing on time, eat­ing the right stuff. It’s been a big jump but I feel like I’m get­ting there.

“I’m get­ting min­utes back on board now af­ter a few nig­gly in­juries, so hope­fully I’ll get up to the speed of things.”

Smith tasted suc­cess as Folke­stone won Ry­man Di­vi­sion One South – the fourth tier of Non-League foot­ball – last term and still keeps in touch with his old pals.

“Yeah, I still speak to a few of them,” he said. “They give me their best wishes when­ever I’m start­ing. They give me a few mes­sages, stuff like that.”

So will he be cel­e­brat­ing an­other pro­mo­tion at the end of the cur­rent sea­son? The 6ft 5ins for­ward doesn’t see any rea­son why not – es­pe­cially with Mill­wall putting to­gether a 16-match un­beaten run in league and cup prior to the week­end.

“Au­to­matic pro­mo­tion is the aim – 100 per cent,” he said af­ter the mid­week win against Peter­bor­ough. “Every­one’s look­ing for that top two, we’re not look­ing to ce­ment a play-off place.

“We looked at it tonight, we’re six points be­hind now. We’ve still got to play Scun­thorpe down here, go away to Sh­effield United and Rochdale and play a cou­ple more teams around us.

“We’re 16 games un­beaten so we’re def­i­nitely aim­ing for the top two. The way we’re go­ing, we won’t be far off.”

Has he en­joyed as long an un­beaten run be­fore?

“No, noth­ing like this,” he ad­mit­ted. “When I was with Folke­stone last year we won the league by about 20 points but we didn’t go on a 15, 16game un­beaten run. We lost the odd game here and there.

“It just shows the char­ac­ter we’ve got in the group to go on this sort of run, in­clud­ing beat­ing a few Pre­mier League sides along the way.”

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