Harrogate Town's Will Smith praised for his attitude during spell on the sidelines
The 22-year-old centre-half did not play a single minute of the club’s opening nine League Two fixtures, his only appearance during the first two months of the campaign coming in the EFL Trophy.
But, a groin injury sustained by Rory McArdle at the end of September opened the door for the ex-Barnsley defender, and he has gone on to complete 90 minutes in the Sulphurites’ recent victories over Oldham Athletic and Newcastle United Under-21s.
Speaking after Tuesday’s 2-0 Trophy win against the Magpies youngsters, Weaver said: “Will Smith has been immense tonight. I said to him at half time it looks as if he has gained a couple of yards of pace.
“He’s just been superb and you can see that second game in he was even better than the first [at Oldham on Saturday].”
It is, however, not just Smith’s performances that Weaver has given a positive appraisal of in recent days.
The Town boss has also spoken in glowing terms about his player’s attitude and conduct during his spell on the sidelines.
“Will didn’t let his professionalism slip even though it must have been difficult for him because he’s not used to being out of the team,” Weaver said.
“He’s one of those lads who lives for playing, but despite the disappointment of finding himself out of the team he has been training ever so well.
“He has been bang on it. His attitude has been spot on. You want players to be honest and frank with you if they’re disappointed rather than them just being miserable when they come in. That can become problematic. It’s counter-productive.
“If your body language isn’t right and you’re not doing everything you can to get your place back then players often end up going backwards and then they can find themselves going out on loan.
“With Will, he might even have come back into the team a better player. Cream always rises to the top.”
Smith himself is just happy to be playing football again.
“It was very good to be back,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
Next up for Smith and his team-mates is a showdown with bottom-of-the-table Scunthorpe United on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.