Smith’s top six hopes

IPSWICH Town’s World Cup star, Tommy Smith, is predicting a promotion-chasing season after his first ever professional goal inspired the sparkling 3-1 victory at a stunned Middlesbrough on Saturday.

IPSWICH Town’s World Cup star, Tommy Smith, is predicting a promotion-chasing season after his first ever professional goal inspired the sparkling 3-1 victory at a stunned Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Roy Keane’s wafer-thin squad were not given much chance of causing an upset at big-spending ‘Boro, but it was Gordon Strachan’s men who had their heads bowed in defeat long before the final whistle sounded.

Now attention turns towards Exeter City, and tonight’s Carling Cup first round tie at St James’ Park.

Smith could be one of a select few senior players to feature against the League One club, either from the start or the bench. Either way, he is on a high after his ground-breaking goal at the Riverside.

Centre-half Smith kick-started a marvelous second-half comeback by ramming home a 50th minute equaliser, the first goal of his career, to continue a dream summer that began with three outings for New Zealand in the World Cup in South Africa.

“We were all ecstatic after that win. Beating Middlesbrough, who are the title favourites, felt great,” enthused Smith.

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“We were already full of confidence, before that game. Expectations are very high, and I think we can finish in the top six.

“We’ve been feeling like this throughout pre-season, and I think we showed how good a team we are during that game.”

Smith’s highly-prized goal took a wicked deflection, but the 20-year-old won’t be budging an inch - it will go down as his goal!

“That’s my first goal. It took a deflection, but I’m definitely claiming it!” insisted Smith.

“It was an important goal, because it got us back on level terms. We needed that. And It was also nice to see the strikers score goals as well.”

It promises to be a very young team in action at Exeter this evening, with manager Keane unlikely to risk too many of his senior players ahead of the home game against Burnley on Saturday.

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