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READ | Everyone knows they need to perform to stay in the team – Smith

26 November 2021

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You’d think that the league’s Player of the Month and second highest scorer wouldn’t have to worry much about whether he’d have a place in the starting XI.

Michael Smith was in blistering form prior to picking up his fifth booking of the campaign against Charlton leading to suspension.

Missing the Bromley Emirates FA Cup tie with a slight knock, he was forced to sit out the subsequent Sky Bet League One encounter with Cambridge United.

During that time, fellow strikers Freddie Ladapo and Will Grigg found the back of the net, with Joshua Kayode also impressing both in the league and on international duty with Republic of Ireland U21s.

And Smudge is well aware of the competition for places right across the squad, stating that it can only help to drive standards and improve performances.

“I was in good form prior to my suspension and the international break,” Smith told

“Like all of us in the team though, I know that I have to be on my toes, because the other strikers are pushing really hard for a place in the side as well.

“Freddie and Will have both been scoring goals and JJ has been in good form, both for us and on international duty, so I know I have to be at my best every time I cross the white line.

“We have that competition right through the squad and I think it only acts as a massive plus in helping to drive standards, I think that is shown by the results we’ve been getting of late.”

Michael Smith

RU v Sunderland - 037 - Michael Smith - GOAL Celebration.jpg

Victory at Ipswich saw the Millers top the table heading into another tricky away assignment at Oxford United on Saturday.

The Yellows are also pushing towards the upper echelons of the league table and will have been buoyed by an impressive home victory over Fleetwood Town in midweek, a result earned despite missing a number of players.

Smith is under no illusions of the threat U’s pose and is expecting a tough afternoon against Karl Robinson’s upwardly mobile side.

“We know it will be a tough game, Oxford have a really strong home record and are one of the fancied teams to win promotion,” Smith reaffirmed.

“They won on Tuesday against Fleetwood in difficult circumstances because of their covid problems, so we’re expecting them to be full of confidence.

“We’re in good form too, though, and we want to play to the same standards that we did in the win at Ipswich on Tuesday night.

“Both teams try to attack, so I think it will be an entertaining game between two sides who are hoping to be towards the top end of the league.”

Michael Smith

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