LEO SMITH has set his sights on being a Wrexham regular.
The 18-year-old midfielder, preparing for tomorrow’s trip to Solihull Moors, has signed his first professional contract keeping him at The Racecourse until the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
Having made 11 league appearances since his senior debut in the 2-1 win against Bromley on October 22, eight of which have been starts, Smith is hoping for more action in the remaining 12 matches as well as the coming seasons.
“I thought I have played well in the games I have played,” said Smith.
“Hopefully now I can push on to get a few more games before the end of the season. Keep improving in pre-season and be the best player I possibly can, and impress people.
“I will just try and keep my spot, keep working hard and play as many games as I possibly can on the bounce.
“Next season we need to try and push for promotion so I am looking forward to it.”
Smith, a second year scholar going into the 2016-17 campaign, was invited by previous Reds’ boss Gary Mills to train with the first-team in preseason along with defender Jordan Davies who has since signed for Brighton.
It was only when Dean Keates took over as manager in October that Smith made his first appearance, and he is grateful for the faith shown in him.
“It was a brilliant experience to be involved from the start this season,” said Smith. “I appreciate what Gary Mills did but the gaffer now did me wonders by putting me in.
“As soon as the gaffer came in, I have had that chance in the team and it has improved my game.
“I just wanted to repay him by showing what I can do on the pitch.”
Smith believes more of the Reds’ scholars, some who have regularly been included in Keates’ squad, can take heart from the fact he is willing to give youth a chance.
“The gaffer has shown he is not afraid to put youth on the bench,” said Smith.
“Olly Marx and George Harry are involved now and it is good for the young lads to see that they will get their chance.”
Centre-back Marx and striker Harry will be hoping to emulate Smith and earn their first professional contracts, something the teenager is over the moon with.
“I got offered the contract a couple of months ago but it got finalised last Thursday and I signed it,” said Smith.
“I was made up and my family chuffed.”
Keates has stated that the current members of his squad are playing for new contracts but he has already identified targets he would like to bring in for next season.
“We have been looking since day one and compiled lists of players who are out of contract,” said Keates.
“It is a case of looking at what we feel we need to strengthen and build going forward for us to make a challenge next season.
“I am having conversations with people and we are looking, but it is all hearsay at the moment.
“The lads in the building at the moment are here because we want them in the building, and they can stake their claim because they have got the tops.
“If they are performing, they will still be here.”
See full story in the Leader