Accrington Stanley is not usually the place where dreams are made, nor careers boosted, but one Queens Park Rangers star might be thinking otherwise right now.
Paul Smyth joined John Coleman’s side after struggling to nail down a place in the Rangers matchday squad. He’s been on the edge of the first team, making fleeting appearances from the bench.
He’s highly thought of at Loftus Road, but needed proper experience and some minutes on the field. With eight starts and eight outings from the bench for QPR in two seasons, he had to get some senior football under his belt.
Accrington might not seem the obvious choice, but Smyth won’t have realised quite how beneficial it can be. They’re by far the smallest club in League One, their ground has a National League feel and they’re existing well beyond their means.
Why they succeed is togetherness, a unity and team spirit that is fostered by the whole squad. There’s no egos at Accrington Stanley, no motives, just a sense of everyone working hard for the betterment of the club.
Now, with five starts under his belt, Smyth is beginning to show signs of development. He’s only bagged one goal, but his all-round play has been exceptional and he’s sure to have caught the eye of Steve McClaren’s staff.
Had he gone to Sunderland, Barnsley or Charlton he might have found himself on the bench, but every transfer Accrington make is measured and carefully planned. It has to be, not a single penny can be spent in the wrong place. That careful approach means when a player comes in, he’s wanted and used in the right manner.
Smyth has sixty days or so left at Accrington, a side unlikely to make the top six and that would be unlucky to make the bottom four. In that time he’s free to play his game in a stable environment in which players are encouraged and developed.
He’s sure to take some great learning experiences away from his time with John Coleman and hope that he can add something to his game ready for a serious assault on the QPR team next season.