Imps intensity excites Smith

Ali Smith can feel pre-season getting more intense as he and his City team-mates get closer to the opening of the 2023/24 campaign.

The midfielder played 60 minutes in Tuesday evening’s friendly at Grimsby Town, and is ready to test himself in Sky Bet League One next month.

He said: “We’ve blown the cobwebs out now, and it feels the intensity is getting there. Mentally and physically we’re getting there.

“The staff have really conditioned us to be ready for the start of the season and be ready to go to Bolton and put up a good fight. I’ve settled in well and am really enjoying it. It’s obviously a challenge as it’s a step up in league, but I’m adjusting well and looking forward to what I can get out of this season.”

Smith played in a midfield pairing with Oisin Gallagher at Blundell Park, and is relishing the competition they both face for places with Ethan Erhahon and Ted Bishop in that role.

He said: “Football is all about competition and fighting for your place - I have a lot of respect for them all, but I’m ready to fight for my place.

“Your spot is never guaranteed - you have to earn it and I’m ready to go out and do that.”

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