How we use Cookies

Smith is glad to be on way back

DEFENDER Jonathan Smith admitted it has been a difficult time for him as he has recovered from a knee ligament injury.

BACK... Jonathan Smith
BACK... Jonathan Smith

DEFENDER Jonathan Smith admitted it has been a difficult time for him as he has recovered from a knee ligament injury.

"It was December 6 when I did it at Bournemouth and I have been out for nearly two months," said the centre half who played his first full 90 minutes since then in the 1-1 draw with Burton on Saturday.

"It has felt like a lot longer than two months and has been frustrating."

Smith has been at Stanley for five seasons and, after helping the Reds get into the Conference, it has been a mixed season for him so far.

"I just need games now," said Smith. "It was disappointing that the Bamber Bridge game was called off midweek as was a reserve game and there is no game tomorrow - and I really just want to get some matches under my belt.

"I am returning to fitness and doing a lot of running but there is nothing like games."

He admitted it has been agony sitting out some vital games for the Reds including the FA Cup third round draw with Colchester at the Interlink.

"I have been at the club a long time and it was probably the biggest game since I have been here and I was sorry to miss it," he said.

"But still to be part of the club at times like that is good. I did enjoy it although it is hard watching. Saying that, Rocky (Robbie Williams) and Hacker (Steve Halford) have been superb this season and I am only getting my chance now because Steve is suspended."

Smith did get the opportunity to face Colchester, coming on in the last few minutes for the replay - but was back in his normal position for Burton. "I went straight up front against Colchester to try and get a goal - and it almost happened!

"But it was good to play a full game against Burton. They are always difficult games and I think we deserved to get something out of it. They are a good side.

"But we are ready to try and get into the play-offs now. I think we stand a realistic chance.

"At the start of the season, and probably a few games into it, most people thought that a mid-table position would have been good for us.

"But now we are doing better than that, the expectations are higher and we do believe we can make it.

"Clubs are slipping up around us and we might have an off-week but we are up there with a good chance."

The defender knows he has a big decision to make at the end of the season when Stanley turn full-time.

Smith, who is 28 next month, has got a good job at Hyndburn Sports Centre where he is acting assistant manager. He also has a family to support.

"It is a big decision for me and I will have to sit down with John (Coleman) and Eric (Whalley) and discuss it over the next month.

"It is a dream to be a professional footballer but you also have to be sensible. I am older and have a family - I will just have to see what happens."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist