Harrogate Town v Newcastle United U21s: Will Smith wants more minutes under his belt
Will Smith is looking forward to the opportunity to get more minutes under his belt when Harrogate Town entertain Newcastle United Under-21s on Tuesday evening.
Having not featured at all during the high-flying Sulphurites' opening nine League Two fixtures of 2021/22, the 22-year-old centre-half made just his second competitive appearance of the campaign at Oldham Athletic at the weekend.
Unused since Town's 3-1 EFL Trophy success over Mansfield on August 31, Smith slotted seamlessly into the heart of Simon Weaver's back-four, helping his side to a 2-1 victory.
And although he admits that he hasn't enjoyed watching on from the sidelines in recent weeks, the ex-Barnsley defender insists he is now simply focused on trying to ensure that he plays as much as possible moving forwards.
"It was very good to be back," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.
"There’s been a little bit of frustration because it’s not nice not being in the team but sometimes you can’t do anything about it. You’ve just got to wait for your chance and then take it when it comes, which I think I did with my performance on Saturday.
"I was pleased with how I did. There's the match-fitness side and getting match-fit again but I felt good when I was out there.
"I felt alright. Towards the end there was a little bit of cramp, it's just a case of getting used to playing a full 90 minutes, but I am just pleased to be back in the team.
"Now it’s about momentum I want games under my belt I want to get fitter, get stronger. I want to be playing every game, I want to try and play every game this season."
Echoing his manager's post-match sentiments, Smith admitted that Town were not at their best against Oldham, but insisted that Saturday's result was a good one.
He said: "The first 15-20 minutes were quite tough, they opened us up out wide, but we got it sorted. We changed formation and from then on I felt like we got better, we grew into the game and obviously we got the goal and took the lead.
"It wasn't the best first half, but we showed glimpses of how good a team we can be. Second half, we were quite comfortable as a team. I think we could have been more clinical at both ends, both defending and attacking, so there's plenty to improve on but it's a still a very good result.
"It's always difficult when you're the away team and the opposition get a goal, but I thought we dealt with their crowd quite well and in not going under at 2-1 I thought we showed good resilience.
"We got the three points, which was the most important thing. It’s good, it lifts everybody. I thought we had a really good week of training, heads are up, we are doing well at the moment and hopefully that continues."
Town's EFL Trophy clash with Newcastle's youngsters kicks-off at the EnviroVent Stadium at 7.45pm on Tuesday evening.