Why did Jonathan Smith swap League Two Stevenage for National League Chesterfield? Town’s new midfielder gives a four-fold answer

Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Vanarama National League, Harrogate Town v Chesterfield, CNG Stadium, 03/11/18, K.O 3pm''Chesterfield's Jonathan Smith celebrates his goal''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, Vanarama National League, Harrogate Town v Chesterfield, CNG Stadium, 03/11/18, K.O 3pm''Chesterfield's Jonathan Smith celebrates his goal''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
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Times might be hard at the Proact right now, but Jonathan Smith has seen enough potential to commit the next 18 months of his career to Chesterfield FC.

The hard-nosed midfielder, who has filled in at right-back recently, was originally on loan from Stevenage but this week the move became permanent.

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Sutton United v Chesterfield FC; 30/10/2018 KO 19:45; The Knights Community Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Jonathan Smith fires home the equaliser late in the game at Sutton

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Sutton United v Chesterfield FC; 30/10/2018 KO 19:45; The Knights Community Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Jonathan Smith fires home the equaliser late in the game at Sutton

Perhaps the most obvious question for Smith was why he wants to remain at a club that hasn’t won in the league since August and sits just above the National League drop zone.

The 32-year-old’s answer can be boiled down to four things – enjoyment, potential, Martin Allen and clarity over his future.

“I was really enjoying it,” he said, after signing a deal that made him a Spireite.

“So if there was a chance it could be made permanent I would definitely have been interested.

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Sutton United v Chesterfield FC; 30/10/2018 KO 19:45; The Knights Community Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Jonathan Smith celebrates his equaliser with the Spireites bench

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Sutton United v Chesterfield FC; 30/10/2018 KO 19:45; The Knights Community Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Jonathan Smith celebrates his equaliser with the Spireites bench

“I feel like I’m a Chesterfield player.”

Smith’s move from Stevenage to Chesterfield reminds him of November six years ago, when he swapped League Two York for Conference side Luton Town.

He believes he can replicate the success he had with the 2013/14 Conference title winning Hatters, as a Spireite.

“I feel like there’s a lot of potential in the team and the club in general,” he said.

“I know it’s easy to say but the club shouldn’t be where they are.

“I’ve been in a similar situation to this before, when I signed for Luton Town, I got asked a similar sort of question and it’s the same really – I feel like the club, once they get used to this league and what it’s about, things will turn and go better.

“I’ve got out of this league with Luton, I know what it takes, I feel like it can be done again.”

The manager, who admitted when he signed Smith on loan that he had never liked him as an opposition player because of his combative nature, has played a part in Smith’s enjoyment of life at the Proact.

As have his team-mates.

“I’m really enjoying playing for him, he’s a good manager and I feel like he’ll get the best out of me.

“The lads have all been great.

“I’ve enjoyed working with them.

“All I can say is that everyone is together.

“Everyone is pushing in the same direction.”

Now that the deal, which Smith signed on Tuesday, is confirmed he can look forward to Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Billericay, a game he might not have been able to play in had Town not signed him permanently.

“Stevenage were keeping tabs on what I was doing.

“They’d seen I was doing alright, but in my mind I just really wanted to stay here.

“Making it permanent cuts out all the talk about the possibility of me being recalled, or am I allowed to play in the FA Cup.

“It just clears it all up, so there’s no chance of being recalled and upsetting the apple cart.

Securing his Spireites future bookends an intense period for Smith and co, after three difficult games against Wrexham, Sutton and Harrogate.

The makeshift right-back scored in each of them, producing late equalisers against both Wrexham and Sutton, before giving Town the lead in a game they eventually drew 1-1 at Harrogate.

He’d swap each of those goals for wins, in a heartbeat.

But he’s pleased to have helped and feels that, after what he admits was a slow start, he’s ready and able to make a regular impact.

“It’s nice to contribute.

“For me it’s all about wins, I’d exchange those goals for wins.

“It took me a bit of time to settle at the start, I hadn’t played much this season.

“I underestimated match fitness, I thought I’d just come in and it’d be fine, but I knew that once I got a run of games then I could really start to contribute positively.

“I want to continue that, whether it’s goals or just helping the team win games.”

Smith, who has plenty of experience at this level, is convinced by what he’s seen in training, in the dressing room and on the pitch that the long-awaited league victory is just around the corner and the rest of the season shouldn’t hold any intimidation for Town.

“We’ve had three tough games and we’ve matched all of them.

“We feel like it’s coming.

“We were close on Saturday (at Harrogate).

“We played Wrexham and Harrogate, the teams at the top, and in my eyes there’s nothing to be afraid of.”