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Smalley determined to build on good start for Oxford United
DEANE Smalley is looking to smash his previous goals tally for Oxford United this season.
The striker scored only seven times during the previous two seasons, but a penalty in the 2-0 win at AFC Wimbledon last weekend was his fifth effort in nine league appearances in this campaign.
One more goal will make it Smalley’s best return for the U’s and after getting away to a good start, the 25-year-old is keen to kick on.
He said: “I got five goals last year, so I'm looking to improve on that.
“Not just improve it but better it by some distance.”
The striker knows the key is keeping fit, with injuries playing their part in holding him back at United.
He came on as a substitute at Wimbledon after missing two games with a knee problem.
Smalley is determined to put in extra work in a bid to avoid problems and is hoping a good week in training will get him back into the starting line-up to take on Bristol Rovers tomorrow.
“I've got to stay fit,” he said.
“I will keep doing my rehab day-in, day-out in the gym.
“Hopefully I will have a good week in training and put the thought into the manager's mind that I’m fit for the game and hopefully get the shirt.”
Smalley made a big impact coming off the bench to play alongside James Constable last weekend.
Injuries and loss of form mean the pair have not played regularly as a strike partnership since Smalley signed in 2011.
Constable, who also has five goals this season, enjoys playing with the former Oldham trainee, who he believes could even reach 20 goals for the first time this season.
He said: “Deano’s come back this season and if he stays fit I'm sure he'll go on and get 15 or 20 this season.
“It’s great to see Deano in there and I want to be in there with as many as I can get as well.
“We performed really well on Saturday, but we know we've got a lot of really hard games coming up.”
The pair’s goals made the difference at Kingsmeadow last weekend and the win took United back to the top of the table.
With almost a third of the season gone, Constable says it is no fluke.
“I wouldn't like to think so, we have worked really hard from pre-season up to this point.
“Everybody is enjoying being part of the team and we all want to play week-in, week-out, which is a nice position for the gaffer to be in.
“I’m sure everyone is desperate to play and that can only keep the standards high.”
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