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Chris Smith hails York City centre partnership
YORK CITY skipper Chris Smith is revelling in his centre-back partnership with Clarke Carlisle but said the pair must continue to perform if they are to keep their places in the first team.
The experienced duo secured their second consecutive clean sheet in Saturday’s 0-0 npower League Two draw at Southend United and Smith is enjoying turning out alongside the former QPR, Leeds and Burnley defender.
“He’s very experienced,” Smith said of Carlisle. “He very rarely loses a header and his talking and organising is so good.
“Sometimes you can switch off but if someone is talking to you, it switches you back on. He constantly talks.
“He is a good player to have in the team.
“We saw that in the end at Southend with Ryan Cresswell, who is 6ft 5in, and Clarke is winning headers on the goal-line.
“You need to get that partnership with someone, whoever it is, and I think we have got a good little combination there.”
But Smith added that despite their recent success they will not become complacent – well aware that a raft of players are waiting in the wings to take their place should performances slip.
“We have got to stay on it because there are so many good players there,” he explained.
“You need to stay on your game otherwise you are out.”
Minstermen manager Gary Mills was thrilled with Smith and Carlisle’s contribution at Roots Hall and added the transformation in the latter, between his debut against Oxford and Saturday’s League Two clash, has been “incredible”.
“They were massive,” Mills said. “I think they have been outstanding together – getting better and better.
“The pleasing thing with Clarke is, I look at him now and I look at him the first game I played him and the difference in his fitness – not only physically but mentally – is incredible.
“It’s excellent. We’ve had another clean sheet, gone away from home and had two clean sheets.”
Smith, meanwhile, added he is thrilled to be regularly back in Football League action having not been part of the elite 92 Club since York were relegated more than eight years ago.
“I remember playing a few times at Southend for York and not coming off very well in those days,” he said.
“These are the sort of clubs you want to be at, because of the history and the good crowds, so may it roll on.”