Tommy Smith adds to Paul Jewell’s defensive woes – but Luke Chambers backs the boss

TOMMY Smith has thrown Paul Jewell’s defensive problems into more turmoil after jetting off to play for New Zealand in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The centre-back, one of only two in the Town first-team squad, is set to play for the All Whites in New Caledonia on Friday and then against the Solomon Islands in Auckland next Tuesday.

This means Smith will finish his second qualifier – played more than 10,000 miles away – just three days before travelling to Middlesbrough for Town’s next league match.

Even though the 22-year-old has got used to this round-the-world lifestyle as he looks to combine club with country, it is hardly ideal preparation for a long trip to Teesside.

Especially when Jewell currently has just Smith and Luke Chambers as his only recognised centre-backs following the manager’s decision to sanction Damien Delaney’s free transfer last week. It just heaps pressure on the Blues boss in his desperate search for a new loan defender prior to the match on Saturday week.

This situation is not lost on Chambers who said: “It is no secret that we need another centre-back – and the sooner that happens the better.

“If something did happen you have got more options. When I came in the summer, the gaffer’s vision was to bring more players in that want to be at the football club for the long term rather than loanees.

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“That was one of the reasons why I came here and I know he has tried every single hour of every single day to bring the players in.

“Sometimes in football, its not as easy as people make it out.

“We bought in some very good players and, when the window opens, I am sure we will do it again.”