27 November 2015
By Bryan Smyth
The goalkeeper, Alan Smith, who signed for the club ahead of the 2015 season, made two cup appearances for the club last season and says he feels he has improved despite the lack of playing time: “I’m looking forward to this year and hoping to push on, make a few more appearances and establish myself a bit more. I want to play as many games as I can. For the team, I think we all know that we should be aiming for silverware.”
“It can be a bit frustrating, but that is what happens when you are a young goalkeeper. Mark (McNulty) is probably the best keeper in the league and has been for two or three years at least. I am happy here; the club is brilliant, the players and staff are wonderful, and it is just a case of being patient and taking my chance when I get it.
“Phil Harrington is fantastic. He pushes you every single day, he constantly wants to make me better and I can’t speak highly enough of him. He has done wonders for me in terms of fitness, ability and how I think about the game and I have really improved since I joined.”
City boss John Caulfield said he believes the 22-year-old has what it takes to be one of the best in the league. He said: “Alan came in as third choice keeper and became second choice last year. He played in the EA Sports Cup, doing extremely well against St. Pat’s, and also did well in the friendly against a Liverpool XI at Turner’s Cross in the summer.
“He has phenomenal potential; he is tall and athletic but he is probably just lacking a bit of experience. We are hoping that next season he will challenge Mark (McNulty). We see next season as being a big season for him and we see him being involved in a lot more games. He has all the ingredients to be a top keeper, but he needs experience and when his opportunity comes, he will need to take it.
“Come pre-season, he will be involved and there are lots of competitions. It’s a challenge to Mark McNulty, even though Mark has been fantastic for the last two years, we believe that Alan has the potential to be a top goalkeeper and that is why we signed him. As a goalkeeper, his career can go well into his late thirties if he looks after himself, so he is only starting out. Next year is a big challenge for him and one we believe he can step up to.”