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ALEX CREDITS ‘MASSIVE TEAM EFFORT’

3 December 2013

Smithies delighted with win at Bolton

Alex Smithies has explained that keeping his fourth clean sheet of the season was the ‘icing on the cake’ during tonight’s 1-0 Sky Bet Championship win at Bolton Wanderers.

Town have now won three straight games for the first time in the 2013/14 season and Alex admitted that the squad is on the crest of a wave.

“It’s a fantastic feeling in our winning dressing room. To win three on the bounce at such an important stage of the season means the lads are really happy with how things are going. 

“It’s been a massive team effort and all the players involved have really played their part. I don’t think anyone has let the team down and we’re all really pleased with how the team is doing. Long may it continue!”

After 10 games without a clean sheet, Alex admitted that keeping Bolton scoreless tonight was a big personal goal.

He continued: “I feel a bit hard done by, as I feel we’ve deserved three clean sheets in our last three wins. Not only have we won again tonight, but we’ve improved and managed to keep a clean sheet is my aim. 

“The most important thing is the team; winning games and playing well. However, that icing on the cake is keeping a clean sheet; it makes it feel like a perfect performance. Thankfully we’re making progress and we managed to do that tonight. That is our aim again going into Saturday.”

Smithies – Town’s only remaining ever-present this term – was made to work tonight, in particular producing two outstanding first-half saves to deny Andre Moritz and Matt Mills. 

“There are no easy games in this League. If you are to win or draw a game, every player on the pitch has to contribute. In the last three games I feel like I’ve been able to make a save or two that has contributed to our wins. That’s what I get paid to do and I’m glad I’ve been able to help the team.”

Despite his good form, the Academy graduate was adamant that he wouldn’t have got near Oliver Norwood’s stunning long-range winner at the Reebok Stadium.

“After the game Andy Lonergan told me the ball got caught in the lights, but he can’t take anything away from Ollie – no ‘keeper would have been able to save that. It was a fantastic strike. 

“We see him do that in training all the time. I face that in training every day and I’m always encouraging him to shoot as soon as he gets a yard of space. He’s shown what he can do in successive games now.” 

Alex also credited the defenders for their work tonight, in particular Tommy Smith on his fourth senior appearance for the Club.

“The back three were fantastic. Tommy has come in, played his first three League games and looks so comfortable; he is a top prospect for the Club and I think he’ll have a fantastic career. He looks so calm, composed and ever-reliable, which is exactly what you want from a player at the back. He’s not let anyone down.”

Town will soon be back at Canalside preparing for their next away trip; Saturday’s game at Ipswich Town.

“We’ll enjoy tonight, but tomorrow we’ll get our heads down and look to Saturday. That’s exactly what we’ve done ahead of the last few games and it’s been a winning formula. We’ll train hard, focus on Ipswich and look to win.”

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