Determined midfielder Jonathan Smith has revealed it’s the pressure of expectation at Luton that convinced him to drop down a division and sign for the Hatters, writes Mark Wood.
Town completed their £50,000 move for the former York City man on New Year’s Day and the 25-year-old is hoping to thrive in the Kenilworth Road cauldron. He said: “I’ve been for fees before and it didn’t bother me. I like the pressure anyway. If people expect me to do well that’s good for me. If people just think that’ll do or whatever... I want the pressure, people to think we need him and to want to do well.”
“For me I could have stayed at York, same wages, everything the same, close to my home and have it easy if I wanted to. But I want to challenge myself, coming here is a challenge. I think sometimes I could stay at York and sit in mid-table, I could play a little bit. But I want to play to win games.
“York came to me and said they had accepted a bid, that’s all that I knew. Before then I didn’t know what was going on. They just said the bid had been accepted so I didn’t really get involved in any of that.
“I just want to help the team. Come in and do my best. I’ve come here to win promotion so that’s why to finish games like this, losing 3-1 to Woking, is a massive disappointment to me.
“I’ve come to win games and to be at the top of the league we’ve obviously got to improve on that.”
Smith had been in full flow for Luton while on loan, scoring in his last appearance in the 3-0 win over Alfreton before frustratingly being called back by the Minstermen.
He said: “I got called back and I tried to get a reason about why they called me back and stuff.
“He said they were struggling for results and wanted me to come and do for them what I was doing for Luton.
“But going back there and having not played was a bit confusing.
“I was happy playing in this team, playing for this club so to make it permanent and was what I wanted.
“I enjoyed my time here and I wanted to play for a team that’s challenging for something, it brings out the best in me. I don’t want to go through seasons just sitting in mid-table, I want to do something.
“I can see if this club goes up it can push again in League Two. But it’s just about being tough, being tough everywhere and wanting to do well.”
And having helped Swindon Town to the League Two last season he believes Luton can be similarly successful.
He added: “It just shows today we’ve lost and the gaffer’s getting us in tomorrow. That proves that we want to do well, we want to be up there.
“And that’s the challenge to play for a big club and to get promoted.
“I’ve said to a couple of the lads the club reminds me a little bit of Swindon. The way it’s set-up, everything’s set up to do well. We’ve got to be tough everywhere, every game be tough. I think as long as we can get that toughness in us we can do well.
“There’s some good lads in there, some strong characters like your Ronnie Henrys, Scott Rendells, big Jan (Kovacs), some good characters and everyone wants to do well.
“I’ve had no problem settling in cos I just work hard and do my best for the team in every game.
“The fans are great, they get behind the team, they’re hungry to win and that’s what I want.
“Hungry. I want to come to a team that wants to win. So that’s why I decided to move three hours down the road to come and play for this club.”