Striker Craig Mackail-Smith is determined to prove he is worthy of a new deal at Luton Town beyond the end of the season.
The 32-year-old is out of contract at Kenilworth Road in the summer but declared his intentions to the News that he wants to stay with the club.
The only person that can help that is myself by going out on the pitch and performing and hoping that I’ve done enough in the gaffer’s eyes and other people’s eyes to warrant another deal.Craig Mackail-Smith
Mackail-Smith, who was back in the Hatters’ match-day squad against Mansfield Town on Saturday, said: It’s a forward-thinking club, the ambitions of the club are massive, hopefully getting promotion this season, and I want to be involved in it. I want to be involved in the team.
“I’ve still got great ambitions of my own to keep playing as high as possible.
“So the only person that can help that is myself by going out on the pitch and performing and hoping that I’ve done enough in the gaffer’s eyes and other people’s eyes to warrant another deal.”
Mackail-Smith has seen a number of changes in playing personnel since joining in the summer of 2015 but believes the squad now in place has real potential of winning promotion to League One this term.
He continued: “It’s fantastic. Last season we had a massive squad and now it’s been trimmed down, I think it’s a bit more tight-knit.
“The boys are very close, we all have a laugh, we all know the competition that’s going on in the squad and everyone’s ready to fight for a place.
“I think that’s shown with the performances on the pitch, and the players who have come into the team when needed have all put a shift in and worked really hard.
“Everyone knows their roles and we know we’ve got the players to get out of this division.
“It’s a bit clichéd, but we need to take it game-by-game, make sure we win them and hopefully by the end of the season we’re there or thereabouts.
“It’s good to have competition because we all want the same thing, we all went to get promoted out of this division.”
Mackail-Smith has had a rough time with injuries since the turn of the year. He broke his tibia in the 1-0 win at Plymouth, leaving him stuck on four goals in 32 appearances so far.
Although he played another 60 minutes during yesterday’s Development squad victory against Leyton Orient at Hitchin Town FC, he had hoped to be back in action before now, saying: “It’s been a bit stop-start. The first time I saw the specialist, he said ‘three months.’
“I got to the three months point and it hadn’t gone how everyone expected and then had to have to it pinned, with another three months on top of it, so it has been hard as I was preparing myself for pre-season to be fit and strong and ready.
“It hasn’t quite worked out that way, but that’s football, that’s life, these things happen and you’ve got to learn to adjust and adapt.
“It’s given me more time to look at things that I need to work on in my game and hopefully that makes me better and stronger when I come back fully to play 90 minutes.”
The striker was quick to praise the medical staff at Luton for their efforts too, saying: “Simon (Parsell) and Daz (Darren Cook), I’ve spent a lot of time with them they’ve looked after me brilliantly, with massages, and getting the body right for training and keeping on top of everything.
“That’s what I need, I’ve got to make sure I look after myself now and make sure everything’s right and get through these training sessions and games without any problems then hopefully I can kick on and start getting 90 minutes for the first team.”