Korey Smith stakes claim for starter's orders

Chris Lakey Korey Smith is hoping to stake his claim for to starting place spot at Carrow Road tonight. The young City midfielder, who enjoyed such an impressive debut season in League One, has been sidelined by injury for much of the summer, but with Andrew Crofts away on international duty, comes bang in to contention for the Carling Cup first round clash against Gillingham.

Chris Lakey

Korey Smith is hoping to stake his claim for to starting place spot at Carrow Road tonight.

The young City midfielder, who enjoyed such an impressive debut season in League One, has been sidelined by injury for much of the summer, but with Andrew Crofts away on international duty, comes bang in to contention for the Carling Cup first round clash against Gillingham.

Smith only returned to training last week, but a sign of the regard in which manager Paul Lambert holds him came just two days later when he was named on the bench for Friday's opener against Watford.


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It was under Lambert last season that Smith got his biggest break, when the then new manager was sufficiently impressed with his work on the training field to throw him into the fray for his first game, against Wycombe. Smith went on to make a total of 40 league and cup appearances.

But for the second summer in a row, injury has played its part: last year it was during the tour of Scotland, this time around it was in a warm-up game at Dagenham when he suffered a shin injury. Add to that the trio of midfielders Lambert signed, and Smith is again jostling for position.

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It's a position he's getting used to.

“The players who have come in are very good players, like Crofts, who played really well on Friday, got himself a goal and was man of the match,” said Smith. “So I put my hands up to him. We are all in the same team and at the end of the day hopefully I can do well, whatever position I play. I'm just looking forward to getting on the ptich and having a go.

“Even last year, at the beginning of the season I didn't expect to play, there were players who were ahead of me and I had to fight and make the place my own. Obviously that's what you have to do every year. It's football, they are your team-mates at the end of the day and if you are good enough and you play well you're going to get in the team and that's all I want to do.

“It's just healthy (competition) and good for the team.”

Pre-season hasn't been kind - again.

“It does get frustrating because you put a lot of work in over the summer when you're at home and come back and the last two years I have got injured in both pre-seasons at the wrong time,” he said. “This year I have played just 60 minutes and you want to get at least 90 minutes under your belt, so it is hard for me, but at the end of the day the season has started now, there is nothing I can do, I just have to get on with it.

“I was trying to get out of the physio room as quick as possible. I'm not a player who likes being injured. I'm a player who just likes to play in matches and try and keep my place in the team and get on with things.”

Smith had a taste of the Championship at the end of City's relegation season, when he was a sub against Sheffield Wednesday and then made his full debut in that awful final-day defeat at Charlton.

“I did get a little taste of it before, and then obviously we were in League One last year, but I'm looking forward to having another chance to play in it again because it was an excellent opportunity,” he said.

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