Smith salutes fans and strives to make home ground a fortress

Jimmy Smith - Crawley Town FC v Wycombe Wanderers FC. Photo by Jack Beard. Fwd: Crawley v Wycombe (Full-Time) OAK-160806-E85855861
Jimmy Smith - Crawley Town FC v Wycombe Wanderers FC. Photo by Jack Beard. Fwd: Crawley v Wycombe (Full-Time) OAK-160806-E85855861

Jimmy Smith saluted the fans after his goal helped bring back the feel-good factor at the Checkatrade Stadium - as they bid to make it a fortress.

There weren’t many good times at Reds last season home or away, they stayed up by the skin of their teeth.

But it’s been a summer of change with Dermot Drummy installing a new squad and fresh ideas.

The mood is changing, the place looks brighter after a summer clean up and the supporters seemed in good voice with an air of optimism.

Smith got a rare goal to get the season of to a superb start with a 1-0 victory over Wycombe on Saturday and the new captain says they want to make their home ground a tough place to come to.

They followed that up with another hugely encouraging display in their cup defeat at Championship side Wolves on Tuesday.

Speaking after Saturday’s game, Smith said: “The fans were fantastic. We said we want to make this place a fortress, so teams coming here they will have to work hard.

“We are going to give everything to get those three points. The way we are as a team with our togetherness, we want to work hard and play for that badge. The gaffer has drummed that into every single one of us and if you don’t do that you don’t play.”

Smith netted just once last season and is challenging himself to have more of a goalscoring role in midfield.

On what it meant to notch in his first as skipper, he said: “It means a lot. Friday night all of us were in the hotel thinking about how the game will pan out.

“You hope you score and keep a clean sheet and with your family there, thankfully for me it has happened that way.

“It isn’t all about me the other thing is to make sure we win the game. It doesn’t matter who scores. I was pleased to get on the scoresheet.

“It wasn’t a pretty game, we didn’t really play the way we have been planning all pre-season. It shows our togetherness and willingness to work hard and block balls and win the battle over 90 minutes.

You saw in the first half with clearances off the line and people putting their bodies on the line. We got the clean sheet and the goal. There were a few chances for both teams, but I have made my run forward and Andre (Blackman) found me. It had a dodgy bounce over the defender’s head and I took it forward into my stride and smashed it in. I am happy to get a goal, but the main thing is that we win. I am to get more goals this season by making runs and getting into the box.”

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