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No room for error from reliable Smith

LOCAL lad Jonathan Smith admits he is nervous - as one mistake on Sky television and he will be getting stick for weeks.

LOCAL LAD . . . Accrington defender Jonathan Smith
LOCAL LAD . . . Accrington defender Jonathan Smith

LOCAL lad Jonathan Smith admits he is nervous - as one mistake on Sky television and he will be getting stick for weeks.

Accrington Stanley's curtain raiser at Aldershot on Sunday will be a jumpy time for the defender who has just signed a two-year extension to his contract along with Rory Prendergast and Andy Proctor.

"All my friends know I am on television and I can't wait for the season to start now," said Smith.

"A lot of my friends have been ribbing me about it though and they will be watching in the pubs in Accrington. But if I make one mistake that's it - I will get all the banter for weeks.

"It will be great running out there but as soon as we do we will forget about the cameras."

Smith, 27, has noticed the increased interest in the Reds as he has moved up the leagues with them from the UniBond First Division to the Nationwide Conference.

"It is my fifth year here now and more and more people are talking about it. Everyone wants to talk to me about Accrington. It just shows the interest.

"And there are more and more people walking out in Accrington shirts which is great to see. I can hear people saying: "Accrington are back" and "Stanley are on the up."

"I hear it from Blackburn and Burnley fans as well and hopefully we can be their second club and they will come to a few games this season."

Smith, Robbie Williams and Steve Halford are all vying for the centre back spots and Smith isn't sure if he will get the nod.

"It is good competition but of course I want to play. Saying that, Steve Halford was an ever-present last season and Robbie has done really well. Two out of three of us will probably be happy come Sunday but if I miss out, I accept it as the other two are good players. But it will make me more determined to get in the side."

Smith is looking forward to Wednesday night's game against Leigh RMI when he will be up against his friend, Darwener Neil Durkin.

"Me and Neil were in the same year at school and live in the same area so it will be good to be up against him on a level footing. That is a good challenge for me and of course to see Mark Patterson, who I used to play with at Accrington."

Smith admits the additions of Paul Cook and Gordon Armstrong have been fantastic.

"They are brilliant, just having them in the dressing room is great. They are like Mike Marsh but they have played in the league more recently than him. A lot of people were saying they were past it, but they are fitter than ever and keener. The young lads can learn a lot from them."

He admits the first three games will be tough as, following Leigh at home on Wednesday, it is Shrewsbury, relegated from Division Three on the Saturday after (August 16).

"It is a baptism of fire. There is such variety with Aldershot, who we know little about, then Leigh, who were struggling last season and Shrewsbury who were a league club last season. We will just have to see how we get on."


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