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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Smith Loving It

It is just the way of things in football. Fans, and headlines, usually cheer the ones who get the goals.

For goalkeepers, life may seem less rewarding.

Keep a clean sheet and they say you are just doing your job. Make a mistake and it is almost always costly.

As Colin Calderwood's only signing of the summer, keeper Paul Smith has found himself in the spotlight a little more than most.

But he has responded not only with three clean sheets, but several performances - one in particular - that have quickly made him a favourite with City Ground fans.

Smith, signed from Southampton, modestly admits he has been pleased with the start he has made - and in particular with his debut, which saw him make two outstanding saves to ensure an opening day 1-0 win over Bradford City.

And he says he will take most delight from seeing Forest continue their good run of form if they can beat Brighton at the City Ground tomorrow - and send out a message of intent to the rest of League One.

'It is good form for us to have at the start of the season, three good results and three clean sheets,' he said. 'Our aim at the start of the season was to get promotion and to be champions of the league. We have made a good start but we have to continue that.'

Smith says goalkeeping coach Dave Watson and the Forest defence deserve credit for the three clean sheets they have earned so far.

'Ever since I signed for the club I have been working hard with Dave Watson,' he said. 'It is testament to him, the amount of work that he has put in.

'It shows the hard work that he puts in, not just with me, but with the other keepers, is paying off for us, through the clean sheets.

'The defence have been playing really well, particularly in the last two games.

'I haven't had to make as many saves, purely because they have been getting blocks in and defending well.

'We tried a couple of formations in pre-season and they all worked well.

'That showed that we do have the flexibility to play in a number of different ways, we have the versatility.

'Whether it is a back three or a back four, we have defended really well.'

Smith's best display so far was undoubtedly the victory over Bradford, which saw him make two crucial saves to maintain Forest's slender advantage.

'It is nice to keep a clean sheet in the first game, particularly with it being a home game in front of the Forest fans,' he said.

'I have been really happy with the way they have responded. It is a massive club with a massive history and expectation, but the fans have been brilliant.

'Even going into town, people are so friendly, they come and say hello and make you feel welcome.

'Already it feels like a lovely town and a lovely club to be part of.'

But Smith warns Forest will not have it all their own way against newly relegated Brighton.

'Brighton haven't lost either, so it will be a tough game as well, but it is one that we are looking forward to,' he said.

'Speaking to the other lads, Forest did not have a problem playing here, it was getting results away from home that was difficult.

'So we have to be positive that we have got two away wins already under our belts.

'But when you come here and look at the ground and the facilities, you do look forward to training and to playing on a Saturday afternoon.'

And, before the end of the season, you would not bet against Smith grabbing a few headlines along the way.




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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 18 2006

Time: 3:01PM

Your Comments

very modest guy, isn't taking much credit, nice to see, and he is a really good keeper, regardless, so far anyway :p
wallis
 

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