The Storks have been infuriatingly inconsistent on occasions in the Hallmark Security Premier Division, a habit that has caused Smith and Dixon Lambert a few sleepless nights, but the pair are slowly coming to terms with the fact that it’s only natural behaviour for a group that’s learning on the job.
Given the circumstances - with age, inexperience and unfamiliarity coming in to consideration - the Storks are doing remarkably well this season. For a new group, currently earning their spurs at this level, to be seventh in the standings speaks volumes of their potential.
Having only witnessed his team win back-to-back games once this term, Smith said: “Our issue has been inconsistency and on occasions we’re going in to games expecting to win because of our league position.
“That has been our biggest downfall. We seem to raise our game against the bigger teams. We’ve been outstanding at times.
“You can’t afford to look at the league table and get carried away. These young players need to learn that quickly.
“It’s a brand new group, they’re young and still learning. It was always going to take time. We have to take stock of the average age of this squad.
“You almost have to accept the inconsistencies but we’ll be a force to be reckoned with next season.”
Smith has assembled a youthful side filled with hunger, energy and courage. They’re going in to games without any fear, which will stand them in good stead when they take on Abbey Hey tomorrow.
With Paul Moore’s men scrapping for their lives at the foot of the table, Smith, who watched his opponents against Litherland REMYCA midweek, said: “It will be a different type of challenge. They’ve strengthened in the last few days so it will be interesting to see what we’re up against.
“I know the players will be fired up and I’m expecting big things and a strong performance. We certainly won’t be under-estimating Abbey Hey because this division can be brutal.”
He added: “These players have got no fear. They’re young and hungry, they listen to every word we say, but they know they’ve got to work hard for it.
“They’ve got a lot of quality and our record away from home has been decent so hopefully that will continue.
“They’re not scared of anybody, they are full of confidence, hard work and energy. There are lots of pros and cons with having a young group.
“We will go from strength to strength though. Winning the league might be out of the question but we want to finish as high as we can and bring the positivity back. To be flirting with the top positions shows how well they’re doing.”
Unbeaten Burnley United took a break from their Storefirst East Lancashire League First Division title tilt on Saturday.
Paul Fildes’ men played in Lancashire FA Amateur Cup second round at home to Shevington of the Wigan and District Premier League, and won 3-1, with two goals from Sameed Ellahi and one from Hashim Abdullah.
The third round draw gave United a home tie with Morecambe Royals from the North Lancs and District Premier League on November 3rd.
Burnley Belvedere are back in action in the Lancashire Amateur League Premier Division on Saturday, as they take a short trip westbound on the M65.
Phil Ashton’s men face a derby againstt Old Blackburnians at the Memorial Ground, with kick-off at 2-30 p.m.
The Greens sit second in their first season back at this level, a point behind leaders Whitworth Valley, with a game in hand, having won seven and lost two of their opening nine league fixtures.