People are here for the right reasons because they want to progress in football, says Sittingbourne manager Nick Davis
SITTINGBOURNE manager Nick Davis says he’s delighted that a former player of his has made his League One bow.
Harry Smith, 21, left Ryman Premier League side Folkestone Invicta in the summer to sign a two-year deal for Millwall and has had a dream start to life at The Den, scoring three goals during his first three appearances for the club.
Smith has previously played for Sevenoaks Town, Tunbridge Wells and Sittingbourne and Davis has been keeping in touch with the striker.
With the emergence of Jamie Vardy coming out of non-league football and helping Leicester City win their inaugural Premier League title last season, it’s good that League clubs are taking an interest in talented players in the non-league game.
“Delighted for him. It just goes to show you doesn’t it. It gives everyone optimism that they want to progress and have that ambition to move on,” said Davis.
“We’ve got a young side, half of them in there still think they can be professional footballers and why shouldn’t they believe in that. If the right person believes in you and gives you a chance, then you get half a chance.
“Neil Harris (the Millwall manager) has seen something in Harry, he’s six foot six, so all of a sudden people think you can have a plan B, but he’s good on the ball as well, right.
“What a great start. If Carlsberg made debuts, fair play to him. I’m really, really pleased for him. He sent me a text the other day, delighted for him because we had him here.
“I went to Tunbridge Wells (to play 15 games) and I brought him to Tunbridge Wells with me. I said to Martin Larkin (the Tunbridge Wells manager at the time) bring him over and you’ve got to have a look at this guy.
“As soon as I came back to Sittingbourne, Harry was my first signing and we got him on contract in the end and we’ve done alright with Harry Smith to be fair.”
Sittingbourne received a percentage of Folkestone Invicta’s transfer fee.
The Brickies moved up to ninth-place in the Ryman League Division One South table after thrashing fifth-placed Hythe Town 4-0 at Woodstock Park yesterday.
They are now only four points adrift of the final play-off berth and Davis returns to an old club in the shape of Ramsgate on Tuesday night.
The Rams fought back from being 2-0 down to league leaders Dorking Wanderers as two late goals from George Crimmen and Aaron Millbank.
Ramsgate go into the game in the bottom six, having collected five wins, four draws and 10 defeats in the league and are six points clear of the relegation zone, which is currently occupied by Chatham Town, Three Bridges and Godalming Town.
“We’ve played them three times already this year, beat them twice, lost in the Cup,” said Davis.
“I like playing them. It’s good to go there, it’s my old club. I played 100 games for them. I like Jim and Danny Ward down there. I know a few of the lads’.”
If Sittingbourne can replicate their devastating counter-attacking game throughout the season then there’s no reason why the club can’t gate crash the end of season play-off party.
“I don’t know what’s changed,” admitted Davis.
“I think it was a bit of a learning curve for us last year. We lost players at a key time, Harry Smith and people like that. We lost Miles Cornwell at the start of this season and take eight or nine goals away and we’re looking down and the next person has got three.
“I think we’ve got a real togetherness, we’ve got a work ethic here. We have to work hard in this side and people are buying into it and people are here for the right reasons because they want to progress in football. They want to progress and they want to do it right.
“Someone came to watch the other day, they said ‘they’re fighting for you, they’re doing it for the right reasons.’
“We were good at times last year with a great end to the season, but yes, I’m really pleased.”
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Ramsgate v Sittingbourne
Ryman League Division One South
Tuesday 22nd November 2016
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Southwood Stadium, Prices Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent CT11 0AN