Lynn ace confident

King's Lynn's creative spark Adam Smith is winning his fitness battle ahead of next week's Southern League, Premier Division kick off.

King's Lynn's creative spark Adam Smith is winning his fitness battle ahead of next week's Southern League, Premier Division kick off.

Smith misses Lynn's pre-season finale at Unibond Premier Division outfit Grantham today after damaging his right ankle against Newmarket seven days ago, but Lynn's player-of-the-year dismissed fears he faced an extended spell on the sidelines.

“Initially I thought it might be ankle ligaments,” he said. “I've done those twice before - the first time I was out six weeks. Thankfully it's not too bad. It hasn't really bruised up and I'm walking about okay. It's a bit sore when I put any pressure through it so there is no point in making it worse. I just tried to push off and the ankle went from underneath me.”

The 20-year-old is well qualified to offer an opinion on former Norwich City team mate Alex Notman's surprise return against the Gingerbreads. The Man United trainee retired from the professional game in 2003 with a persistent ankle problem - which also prompted an aborted comeback in Lynn colours two seasons ago.

“It's one of those where he probably needs a few games to test it out now” said Smith. “Physically I don't think it would be a problem about whether the ankle can stand up to tackles because he has played competitive football in a much higher league. I had a season and a half with him in the reserves at Norwich and his touch and balance were awesome. On his skill levels alone there is no question he could bring something to us.”

Smith feels healthy pre-season signs point to a concerted promotion push for Tommy Taylor's revamped squad.

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“We look a lot stronger,” he said. “Mark Warren can be a key player during the season because he has that nasty streak we missed at times. In tight games when the going gets tough you need leaders and he can be one for us. Shaun Marshall has looked impressive as well. He's a good shot stopper with a tremendous kick - we've already seen what a weapon that could be to catch other teams out.

“I don't know what it is but we seem to have acquitted ourselves better against the league sides. At Haverhill no one really looked up for it - myself included - and on those nights you just need to work hard for 90 minutes to build up the fitness. I thought against Peterborough in spells it was the best both me and the team had played since I've been at the club.”

Smith struck a late winner to sink Keith Alexander's side. The versatile left-sided player is again happy to fill a variety of roles for the greater good.

“Tommy told me during pre-season he wants to get me further forward,” said Smith. “When I first arrived I didn't want to play at left back but then I realised if I kept myself fit I had the legs to get up and down. Sometimes when you play as an out-and-out winger it can be frustrating because you are not in the game for long spells.”

Smith appreciates the value of a flying start for the title favourites against Halesowen next Saturday.

“At the end of last season I sat down and counted about 12 or 13 stupid points we dropped early on,” he said. “Really we could've comfortably finished second and maybe pushed Salisbury a lot closer. It's important to get that momentum. If you look at a table and we are sitting top or near the top having lost only the odd game then it gives fans and players a boost.

“We need to find that winning mentality. It's much easier to be the side others are chasing than the team doing the chasing.”