Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The League of Equal Talents; Smith: We Treat Every Team with the Same Respect

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The League of Equal Talents; Smith: We Treat Every Team with the Same Respect

Article excerpt

THEY were expecting their next game to be against struggling Nuneaton Town, but instead it is leaders Grimsby Town. In the Conference Premier, Gateshead manager Anth Smith says it makes little difference, writes STUART RAYNER.

The Tynesiders had hoped for a rare home game against relegationthreatened Nuneaton on Saturday, only for it to be called off 24 hours in advance because of the International Stadium pitch.

The surface, new this season, will be relaid but not until next week, so there are no guarantees tonight's game will be on either.

Manager Anth Smith (pictured right) cautioned against treating the Nuneaton match as a "gimme", and for the same reasons he is full of hope for tonight.

"There's no one adrift at the bottom of the table, and no one who has pulled away at the top," he said. "It's a league where anyone can beat anyone. We will prepare in the same mindset as for everyone."

Gateshead need no reminding of the Conference Premier's unpredictability, having lost at home to bottom club Barrow on New Year's Day.

They have managed two extra training sessions since the postponement, and have a full squad to choose from. That includes striker Liam Henderson, whose loan from York City has been extended until the end of the season.

While Smith was understandably keen to see what was due to be only his second home game played, he hopes his team make the most of the circumstances. "It was very frustrating," he said. "It would be nice to get some fixtures under our belt and get some familiarity back with the supporters.

"But we've had a couple of days' training since. We were able to get a session in on the Saturday when the game was called off, and we had another on Monday. "The lads are in good spirit and they should have a little bit of extra energy back in their legs." Last week Smith confirmed his backroom team - although assistant David Rush and first-team coach Paul Bryson have been in situ since he took the reins in mid-December. …

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