DAN THE FAN: Striker Smith coming good in promising opening
A WEEK and a half on from our superb opening day performance against Scunthorpe, Town have continued in that vein, beating Luton away in the League Cup, a narrow defeat to Crawley and a well-earned point at Gillingham on Tuesday.
Last season’s fall guy Michael Smith has been one of the most impressive performers so far, the former Charlton man scoring four goals in as many games.
When Smith arrived last season, I wrote that he looked like the natural finisher we had been missing since the days of Charlie Austin and Sam Parkin before him.
It’s too early to see if that prediction will come to fruition, but 12 goals in 24 games is a good start to his Town career.
Despite Town’s positive start to the season, it hasn’t been all plain sailing, with some defensive naivety playing a part at times, which is understandable for a young side.
Last season, defender Raphael Rossi Branco made huge strides forward and fully deserves his place Town’s starting XI, but his lack of pace has already caused some concern.
In other areas, he’s carried on from last season and has looked impressive, but he needs to work on that aspect of his game before it starts to cost the team points.
At the time of writing, Jack Stephens potential loan move back to Town is currently a non-mover.
His selection on the Southampton bench last Sunday doesn’t make me think he won’t join Town, it just means the Saints have got a few injury problems.
Stephens is highly thought of at St Marys, but not enough for him to play in the Premier League this season.
Having a player of his quality back at the heart of Town’s defence would be a season-defining moment. It’s imperative that deal is done and dusted quickly.
As predicted, it’s been Town’s impressive midfield that’s been taking the plaudits so far this campaign.
Yaser Kasim, Louis Thompson, Luongo and Gladwin have all been superb, alongside wing back Nathan Byrne, whose impressive performances so far have been the biggest surprise.
In every game so far this season Luongo has shown why he is Town’s best player, and that he could easily play in the league above, regularly carving out chances for both himself and his teammates.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a few clubs came sniffing around before deadline day.
Looking at Town’s squad for the season, you can already see a couple of players who have improved from the last campaign, and top of that list is Ben Gladwin.
The former Marlow midfielder seems to be devolving into a better player in every game he plays; I predict he’ll become a key member of the first team and fans favourite as the campaign rolls on.