PAUL SMITH heaped praise on the efforts of his Redditch United side after their hard-fought goalless draw at Lowestoft Town on Saturday.
The visitors played with ten men for 70 minutes following the sending-off of defender Andy Parsons, but Smith’s charges went on to dominate the game with 19 efforts at goal and did everything but score, including Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham striking the post in the second half.
Despite the frustrations of failing to turn their superiority into victory, Smith was thrilled with his side’s endeavours and is relishing Saturday’s visit of Southern Premier Central play-off hopefuls Stratford Town to the Trico.
“It was a very good performance from the boys. We created chance after chance and their keeper made some world-class saves. One was as good as anything I’ve ever seen,” said Smith.
“The team put in a great shift and, whilst we can and do need to improve in front of goal, we were largely denied by some outstanding keeping and last-ditch defending.
“We need to take this level of performance into the Stratford game because they have been going great guns. However, we can beat anybody in this league on our day, although we do have an inconsistency about us at the moment.”
In a bid to bring more goals to the side and fresh from his swoop to bring former United forward Danico Johnson back to the Trico, Smith has added young AFC Telford United striker Jack Downing to his ranks on loan.
Smith said: “We have been keeping a close eye on Jack while on loan at Stourport. His performances and reports back have been very impressive and we hope to help Jack continue to improve. He’s an exciting prospect.”
The manager is also on the lookout for a midfielder to replace Ahmed Ali who has relocated to Qatar with his family.
Smith added: “Ahmed has been outstanding for the club and for me as a manager over a number of years. He brought something different to the team and we will need a replacement in there.”
On the positive side, fellow midfielder Robbie Bunn has committed his future to the club by signing a deal until the end of the season, with an option for the following campaign.
“Firstly, it’s a reward for Robbie’s performances since his arrival. He stepped up a number of levels when arriving and acquitted himself with aplomb,” said the boss.
“He is a great age and will continue to grow and learn. We as a club want to continue to build. Signing the likes of Shaquille (Leachman-Whittingham) and now Robbie on contract is proof of that.”
Bunn said: “I’m delighted to sign a contract for my hometown club, playing for a manager I have the utmost respect for. There is a great buzz around the place and I’m excited to be part of what the gaffer is building.”
On the injury front, the 15th-placed Reds have Lewis Wright and Nyeko Sinclair available again, whilst Adam Whitehouse returned to training this week. Forward Jack Storer is a fortnight away from a return to training following his knee injury which has turned out to be bruising on the bone.