‘keeper looks back on a fine season
The 23 year-old Academy graduate played a key role in keeping the Terriers up and picked up the Players’ Player of the Year accolade at the Club’s Annual Awards Ceremony.
In the first of a two part interview with the stopper he reflects on the 2012/13 season.
Smithies on the close season
"It has been nice and given the players more time to get over little niggles or knocks that they may have picked up during the season. I was in the provisional 40 man squad for the England U21s, but didn’t make the final 23. It would have been brilliant to have been involved, but it didn’t work out and instead has allowed me to get some rest. It was nice to have received some form of recognition. However, I have looked after myself, I have been in the gym and I am looking forward to pre-season.
"Pre-season can ruin you so you have to keep yourself fit during the close season. I like to go back in good shape and show the manager that I am raring to go."
Smithies on the Barnsley match
"It was a brilliant way to finish the season. We have enjoyed two fantastic ends to the season over the past couple of years for different reasons. There were times on the final day when we were a relegated team. To finish the day on such a high was brilliant and it does help you enjoy the summer. I have experienced the lows when we have lost out in the Play-Offs and it does take some time to recover from. We managed to retain our Championship status and we all want to kick on and try and build on where we finished."
Smithies on changing scenarios
"It is difficult to know exactly what is going on, but you do get a sense because of the change in atmosphere. On the last day it was hard to tell if things were or weren’t going our way from the atmosphere. A few minutes after Vaughany had scored our second the Barnsley fans were cheering, which was bizarre! As the goalkeeper you can feel the tension within the crowd, but you never really know – and sometimes fans get there wires crossed. On the final day in the Premier League the Tottenham fans were celebrating wrongly because somebody had spread a false message."
Smithies on making the step up
"It was a big step up, but I felt that I adapted to it fairly quickly. I relished the challenge and opportunity. A lot of the signings last season were Championship players so you could see in training before the season started the difference in quality. I am grateful to have experienced a full year in the Championship and can’t wait to build upon last season."
Smithies on strikers
"Having played with Jordan Rhodes for a number of years we all knew the ability that he possessed, but I had never played against him until last season. His finishing quality was first class and he proved that during both meetings. Cardiff possessed a very experienced squad with some quality players like Craig Bellamy and were a tough test for every team in the league."
Part two will be available on htafc.com on Tuesday.
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