Town’s ‘keeper on Derby
Being Huddersfield born and bred, ‘keeper Alex Smithies has felt the run of eight games without a win as much as anyone – and wants to stop that run on Saturday.
With Peter Clarke on the bench, Smithies skippered the side during Tuesday’s defeat against Ipswich and admitted there was nothing to take from the game.
“The team’s performance is much more important than individual performances at this time in a season so as much as I want to play my part, it is far outweighed by how the team played on Tuesday and I was very disappointed.
“I tried to be loud, stick my chest out and be counted, especially when we went behind. It’s nice to have the extra responsibility of being Captain, but I try to be as vocal as possible anyway. I also try and set the example in the dressing room throughout the week; to be a leader in the group.
“We’ve all got to be stronger. We set really high standards here and we understand what we need to do.
“No matter how well we play, I don’t think the Manager will ever be totally satisfied because he wants us to continue to improve and push forward. Whether you are near the top or the bottom of the League, you always have to strive to get better.”
Smithies believes a win at Derby’s iPro Stadium on Saturday would go a long way towards putting things right.
“In football, you can go from being a hero to public enemy number one very quickly. However, I have faith that this team can turn it around.
“We can look at Reading, when we deserved to win. We were strong and resilient at the back, whereas at the other end we forced their ‘keeper into some good saves. That is where we want to get to tomorrow, because if we manage that we will get a good result.
“I know people are disappointed around the town, but I can tell you it’s no more disappointed than the players are. For that reason, the motivation to get a result tomorrow is so high. Equally, we want to give the town a lift.
“We have a number of games coming in a short period of time and if you can start a period like this well, it can lead to a few good results as confidence is high. Tomorrow will be a very difficult game – we won’t be favourites going into it – but if we can come away with a win that will help to start turning things around. It would be a great start to our final five fixtures if we can get a result tomorrow.
“Derby has a good ground; the pitch will be nice and I’d expect a great atmosphere. I’m looking forward to the game.
“The lads are really ready for it. We had a meeting yesterday and we were very honest with each other; we laid down what we expect from each other. We trained after that session and again today and I felt like people had really stepped up to the mark; we’ve lifted the intensity. That should carry into the game tomorrow.”