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Smith irked by super-sub label

22 November 2012

Matt wants starting spot

What have Edin Dzeko, Javier Hernandez and Latics' Matt Smith in common?

The strikers, despite playing at markedly different levels, have been labelled super-subs due to their goalscoring exploits in cameos from the bench.

Smith (23) hates the description, even though great players like Dzeko and Hernandez cannot command regular places at Manchester City and United respectively.

"They are definitely impact players who are idolised for the roles they play at their clubs, but I don't want to be labelled with that tag and make a career of being an impact player," he explained.

Smith may finally jettison the tag on Saturday as Jose Baxter's one-match ban has opened the door for the 6ft 6in striker to stake his claim to kick off against Shrewsbury Town.

He has made only two starts for Latics in 2012/13 and made a further 14 appearances from the bench scoring three goals.

Smith said: "I don't think anybody will enjoy being called super sub as all players want to start every game.

"All I can go is give my best in the game time I am given and push for a starting place.

"Hopefully when I do get in the starting eleven and then  it is up to me to keep the shirt when I am in the team."

Smith added he has been working hard in the gym as well as on the training ground to keep in top physical shape.

"My situation is a bit unique as I am only playing half an hour at most each week and need to keep myself in shape as I am not playing the full 90 minutes. I am doing extra bits before and after training to keep in peak fitness," he said.

Smith is happy with the way his career in professional football has gone given he was a late starter due to studying for a business degree.

"I am only one-and-a-half seasons into full-time football and it has been a bedding in period and I am looking to push on," he said.

Since joining Latics in the summer of 2011, Smith has managed only six starts but also come off the bench a remarkable 45 times. He has scored six goals for the Boundary Park club.

Latics' manager Paul Dickov is delighted with the progress Smith has made.

He said: "Matt deserves a chance to start as he has done ever so well when coming off the bench.

"He is improving all the time and showing a willingness to do so.

"Last year was a big learning process as it was his first season as a professional footballer.

"Hopefully he is now reaping the benefits and he has proved recently a proper handful.

"With Jose out, it gives me the option to play Matt."

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