Stoke City defender Tommy Smith is hoping to nail down a place in Michael O’Neill’s starting line-up, after a difficult start to life at the Bet365 Stadium.
The 27-year-old joined Stoke from Huddersfield Town in the summer, but has endured a tough start to life at his new club.
The right-back has made ten Championship appearances for Stoke this season, but he struggled to get into the team when Nathan Jones was in charge of the club.
Smith started the first three matches of the season for Stoke at right-back, but he very quickly fell out of favour, due to competition from Tom Edwards and Cameron Carter-Vickers.
However, Smith has enjoyed more game time since O’Neill replaced Jones in charge at the Bet365 Stadium and has started the last four matches.
The dramatic win against Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day was his first win with his new club and he is now hoping to cement his place in the team under O’Neill and help the team start to climb the table.
He said told StokeonTrentLive: “Yeah absolutely (I’m hoping for a better year). When I’ve moved to Stoke I had a perception of what was to come. I didn’t think for one moment we would be in the position we are in.
“But that’s football and it’s how you deal with the setbacks that matters.
“I’ve not played as many times as I’d have liked since I joined. I’ve got back in the team and have worked hard. Hopefully that can continue.”
Smith is a good defender and he’s got plenty of experience at this level, so he could turn out to be a very good signing for Stoke.
Things didn’t work out for him at his new club at first, but he’s started the last few matches and has played well, so he’ll be determined to prove to his manager that he deserves to keep his place the side.
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His just needs to keep working hard in training and if he can keep producing good performances on the pitch, he could yet have a very important role to play for Stoke this season after all.
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