Town kids tipped to break through

DAVID Wright has tipped teenage duo Tommy Smith and Jordan Rhodes to be big hits for the Blues this season.

DAVID Wright has tipped teenage duo Tommy Smith and Jordan Rhodes to be big hits for the Blues this season.

The experienced defender, who came through the ranks at Crewe before going to Wigan where he helped them win promotion to the Premier league and played in the top flight, has spent a lot of time during the close season working with the 19-year-olds.

He has been impressed, not just with their playing ability, but with their mental toughness and character as they battle back from injury.

Smith suffered a horrendous broken ankle, with ligament damage, while Rhodes has had to endure a fractured metatarsal but both are ready to join in full pre-season training which starts next week on Thursday and play against Finn Harps on July 7.

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Wright said: “They are great lads, very good friends with each, and they have been pulling each other through those injuries.

“At such a young age to have it must have been tough but they are really tough deep down as the old boys.

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“Not only that but they are nice lads who have shown great character and they are flying now and looking sharp.”

Smith made it back from his long term injury to play in a couple of games at the end of the season while Rhodes spent spells out on loan at Rochdale and then Brentford, where he fractured a foot.

Wright said: “Tommy has done extremely well to come back from a really bad injury and he is absolutely champing at the bit now.

“Jordan was doing really well out on loan and doing what he does best - scoring goals.

“Both are chasing lost time now and will appreciate even more what they have got.

“Both have great futures and I'm sure they will get given a good crack of the whip during pre-season and beyond.”

Veteran defender Wright has been battling with his own injury problems but is confident his hamstring injuries are behind him and is looking to prove appoint.

He said: “I'm just about there bit I still want to find an extra gear to get to where I want to be. I'm desperate to get back in that Premier League, as all the lads are, but I'm personally going to do everything I can to make it happen.”

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