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Paul Smith insists he's ready to make Southend United debut against Oxford United
SOUTHEND United’s new goalkeeper Paul Smith insists he is ready to be thrown straight in to the starting line-up for tonight’s game at Oxford.
Smith’s free transfer switch to Blues was not completed in time for him to play against Accrington Stanley on Saturday.
But the 32-year-old is now free to make his debut and feels fine to play, despite not having had a match during pre-season.
“I have enough experience and have had enough games over the years to be able to play tonight’s game if required,” said Smith.
“I kept my fitness up during the summer and feel like I did the Tour de France because of how much cycling I did so that’s not a problem.
“Oxford is also a nice place to go and play so I’d love to be involved but I will just have to wait and see what the manager decides to do.”
The on loan Cameron Belford started between the sticks as Blues were beaten 1-0 by Accrington in their opening League Two game of the season.
However Smith, who was watching from the sidelines, was still encouraged by the team’s performance.
“We created a lot of chances and that’s a real positive for us,” said Smith. “If you’re not making goalscoring opportunities then that’s when you should be worried.
“But we had plenty of shots on Saturday and, from what I’ve already seen here, I do think it’s definitely possible for us to win promotion this season.”
That was one of the main reasons Smith opted to join Blues ahead of Bristol Rovers who he had been training with during pre-season.
And he was also keen to work with Paul Sturrock, who was his manager at Southampton and the club’s goalkeeping coach Terry Mason.
“I already know the manager which helped me make up my mind and I have heard good reports about the goalkeeper coach as well,” said Smith.
“He’s a young, up and coming coach so I’m looking forward to working with him and getting games again.
“I didn’t play as much as I wanted in the last couple of years at Nottingham Forest but I’ve come here as number one so that the work you put in during training means something when you get to a Saturday.”