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Jonathan Smith up for battle to gain York City starting place
JONATHAN Smith is ready to prove himself all over again at York City.
The 25-year-old, who has returned to the Minstermen on a two-year deal after spending a season at League Two winning Swindon Town, says he is under no illusions about the task facing him as he looks to force his way into manager Gary Mills’ starting XI.
Smith says his exploits at the Robins’ will count for nothing back at City and, up against the likes of Lee Bullock, Paddy McLaughlin, John McReady and Scott Kerr for a midfield berth, he believes he will have to remind the management of the talents that brought him a title medal at the County Ground.
“I know that I am going to have to work twice as hard to get in the team,” he said.
“Looking at the players who have been brought in, it’s going to be up to me to prove myself.
“I have played in the League with Swindon but I have to do it again. That is my next aim.”
Smith is likely to be part of the York squad that goes to the International Stadium for their next pre-season outing against former Blue Square Bet Premier foes Gateshead tonight and, despite lacking match fitness, he is looking forward to showing the City fans an improved player.
Having had a reputation during his first spell at Bootham Crescent for sometimes being reckless in the tackle, Smith picked up just four yellow cards at Swindon and believes he has matured as a player.
Of his fitness, he added: “I have been training since the middle of June but mainly just running – not too much football.
“I am just lacking a bit of work with the ball. I feel fit but, obviously, there is a big difference between that and when you go out to play.
“I really enjoyed it (at Swindon). I learned a bit when I went there and, hopefully, I think I have come back a better player.”
He continued: “I think I was the highest tackler at Swindon last year so I do make a lot of tackles but I think I was timing them a bit better.
“I think my game was a bit more disciplined. I wasn’t just flying into every stupid tackle like I did when I was a bit younger.
“I am trying to read the game a little bit better.”
Although admitting to be disappointed after being told by Swindon boss Paolo di Canio that he would not feature in his plans, Smith said he was delighted that York came back in for him and reckons a successful season is on the cards.
“If I was going to go to anywhere in League Two it was York,” he explained.
“As soon as I found out that Jason (McGill, chairman) and the gaffer were interested in having me back it was a great pull.
“I had a good relationship with the fans when I was here the first time so it was a no-brainer for me.
“As soon as I knew I wasn’t going to get the football I wanted at Swindon, it was easy to come back. The manager told me he was going to be bringing in players from the Championship and the Premier League and I wouldn’t be figuring as much.
“He knows the type of guy I am and that I want to be playing and not to be sat around. It was a bit disappointing but that’s football. The only reason it has taken so long is from the Swindon side of things. Not from York.
“When I got the call I was always going. I was thinking ‘I want to come back’. I know we will do well under the gaffer. I know I am coming to a team that has got a good chance of getting promotion.
“I know how it works and I know we will do well.”