Rotherham United: Michael Smith hoping to have done enough to keep his place
Rotherham United striker Michael Smith is delighted to have finally got his season up and running.
Smith bagged his first two goals of the term in the 4-0 hammering of Coventry on Saturday on his recall to the team.
The former Bury man, a key player in the last two seasons, had endured a frustrating start to the campaign, struggling to make an impact as boss Paul Warne employed a new 4-3-3 formation.
He spent five games on the bench, but came back into the side and scored twice, both from the spot, while also setting up one of Matt Crooks' two goals.
“I've just been concentrating on myself, keeping myself ticking over and keeping myself fit so that whenever I was called upon I was ready to slot back in,” Smith said.
"I can't remember exactly when the gaffer told me I was back in but he had a conversation with me during the week and mentioned that I was in his thoughts for the weekend.
“It was just about training well and being ready to go.
"I'm off the mark for the season now. I've waited ten or 11 games. Two at once is a nice feeling.
"The competition is fierce up top. We've got some quality strikers at the club. Hopefully I've done enough to keep my place.”
'Smudge' has always been one of Warne's main men, having brought him from Gigg Lane midway through the promotion season two years ago.
They returned to a similar style of play and it bore fruit against a side who were previously unbeaten.
"I thought Smudge was excellent," Warne said. "He won all first contacts, which is essential because you then get people gambling off him.
"Smudge's effort to press and compete, with Crooksy around him, was hugely important.
We played like a 4-4-1-1, a bit reminiscent of last season.
"Smudge's performance definitely deserved a couple of goals but other people were brilliant as well.”
Whether Smith retains his place in the team for tonight's Football League Trophy game against Doncaster remains to be seen.
Warne is likely to give some of his fringe players a chance and will also hope to be able to give game time to some of his returning players from injury.
Kyle Vassell and Chiedozie Ogbene, both out since August, hope to feature, while Warne has already confirmed Julien Lamy is set to make his first-team debut.