9:20am Friday 23rd August 2013
By David Pritchard
THE added competition for a place up front has been the key to Deane Smalley’s excellent start to the season, according to the striker.
There were some raised eyebrows when the 24-year-old was offered a new contract by Oxford United in the summer, but so far it has proved a good decision.
A return of three goals from as many games has helped the U’s make a perfect start to the campaign.
Smalley insists he has done nothing differently in his preparations this summer, but admits the arrival of Dave Kitson alongside James Constable has been influential.
He said: “I think it’s healthy to have competition and it pushes you to go that little bit further.
“Kits has been brilliant since he’s been here and everyone knows what Beano (Constable) is about – he’s a goalscorer – so I knew I had to step up to the plate.
“But it’s only three games into the season and hopefully I can take that into the next 43 games and score more goals.
“If the team keep playing well and putting in good deliveries hopefully I can keep putting the ball in the back of the net.”
The flying start has taken United top of the table.
It is a position Smalley knows well, after being part of the title-winning Chesterfield side which was top for the vast majority of the 2010-11 season.
Although the depth of resources was greater in the Spireites squad, the Mancunian can see parallels with the mood around the United squad.
He said: “It was similar to here, everyone was full of confidence and that helps going into games.
“As long as we can keep the belief in our camp and go about our business quietly we’ll all be happy.
“There’s no trick to it, you just have to keep winning games and play with confidence.
“With the defensive unit we’ve got, if they only concede the odd goal then as long as the players going forward are scoring we should get quite a few good results.”
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