Smith relishing working with Taylor

PAUL Smith is relishing working alongside ex-Cambridge United manager John Taylor at Ridgeons League Premier Division side Walsham-le-Willows.

Smith, now 51, was manager for ten years before deciding to stand down at the end of the 2009/10 season. He spent last season watching non-league games, before answering the call to help out towards the end of the season when Chris Soanes, his successor, was told to take a rest on medical advice.

“I watched Walsham several times and teams like Needham Market. I enjoyed having a break and not chasing players!” he admitted.

Soanes, who is suffering from pneumonia, was keen to carry on this season, before deciding shortly before the start of the campaign that it was better for his health if he did not.

Smith accepted the challenge of taking over at the helm once more and has settled back in to the hot seat at Summer Road as though he has never been away.

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He has installed Taylor, the former Cambridge United striker and manager who played with Smith for Sudbury Town, as his assistant manager.

He said: “I am going to learn from having John alongside. He is a fully qualified coach and was manager at Cambridge United for a couple of years. His experience will not only benefit me, but the whole club.

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“He is working with the reserves and under-18s and right down to our youth teams as we try to make progress.”

Walsham sit second from bottom of the Premier Division with just two wins in 12 matches so far, and Smith admitted: “It was tough to start with as Chris made his decision two or three weeks before the start of the season, and players by then were already training with other clubs.

“I had to wait until September to try to get players in then, but we have got a lot of good youngsters who have come through and some of them are holding down places in the team such as Jack Brame, Sam Diaper, Jonny Lambert, who is still an under-18, and Charlie Robinson.”

Walsham have been boosted by the return of former midfielder Ryan Foster, after he was released from his contract with Needham Market, and Smith said: “He has never really settled, but he enjoyed his football here, and he lives in Thetford, so he is only 20 minutes away. He will be a big plus for us and will fit in well. “

Walsham travel to Hadleigh tomorrow and Smith said: “Hadleigh have picked up a bit recently, after having had a lot of injuries, so it will be a tough game for us.

“We are working on keeping clean sheets – we did so at Wisbech (in the FA Vase) and Norwich United (in the Ridgeons League Cup) until extra time in both ties, so we are progressing along the right lines.”

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