‘keeper relishing the new season and a new challenge
Alex Smithies spoke to htafc.com for the first time after picking up the Players’ Player of the Year accolade at last season’s Annual Awards Ceremony.
In the second of our two part interview with the ‘keeper he talked about picking up the award, Mark Robins and his aims for next season.
Smithies on winning the Players’ Player
"It was very nice. A lot of players will tell you that the best award to win is the Players’ Player award because of the amount of respect that you have for them. I value the opinion of the other lads very highly and it was nice for them to have chosen me to win the award. I have won a couple of awards in the past like the Young Player of the Year, but I really did try and step up my game this year and it was nice way to end the season.
"Winning the award never really crossed my mind, but any accolade is nice when it comes along. You don’t play for individual awards, though, you play as a team and you win as a team. In a way I was surprised that I won, but I will take it!"
Smithies on Mark Robins
"When a new manager comes in the players look at themselves and look at what they have given to the team. That is why when a new manager comes in the players generally tend to raise their game, like what happened at Barnsley. When Simon Grayson was sacked we needed to step it up because we hadn’t been playing well and were dropping quickly down the table. In the end, we needed a record amount of points just to stay in the division. Looking at how the season finished you would say that the Chairman made the right decision to change the manager. Everyone backed the new manager instantly and now he has a full pre-season to get his ideas across and bring some of his own players in."
Smithies on pre-season
"I enjoy the pre-season games because that is when the hard work tends to die down! The new season starts for me when the fixture list comes out. You can then start counting down the days to the start of the season."
Smithies on the 2013/14 campaign
"Our aim is to improve upon last season’s points tally. Hopefully the league won’t be as tight in the coming season and we will be able to make some decent progress. We want to start looking up the league towards the play-offs rather than being worried about what is below us. If we can build upon the way we finished last season I am sure that we will have a successful season.
"It is another exciting year in prospect for everyone involved at Huddersfield Town. Last season we visited a lot of new grounds and the same applies this season. Every game is going to be a massive challenge, but in some ways we know what we are up against and can draw from our experiences of last season. It will be a competitive league and I can’t wait for the challenge."
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