TIGERS: Smith departs ahead of tough test

Exit: Pete Smith
Exit: Pete Smith
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Holbeach United v Newport Pagnell (Saturday, 3pm): PETE Smith has left Carter’s Park ahead of one of the toughest fixtures of any UCL Premier Division season.

The combative midfielder, who had fallen down the pecking order in John Chand’s strong Holbeach squad, has decided to make the short move to UCL Premier Division rivals Blackstones.

Smith was a popular figure in the Holbeach ranks having joined the club from rivals Spalding United – and Chand, who agreed to waive Stones’ seven day approach, wished him well at his new club.

Speaking before Wednesday night’s 4-2 win over the the Stamford side, he said: “We’ve got a lot of good midfielders and Pete just wants to play.

“I respect his decision and we wish him well in his future endeavours.

“We didn’t want him to play on Wednesday though, I can’t have him smashing one in against us from 30 yards!”

While Smith will be making his Blackstones debut on Saturday, Chand’s Tigers welcome perennial heavyweights Newport Pagnell. The visitors, who finished third last year, have won two of their first three Premier Division fixtures – including a 5-0 romp at Thrapston Town on Tuesday night.

Chand insists that his new-look side can beat anyone on their day, but is wary of the threat Pagnell will bring.

He added: “I know Boston beat them 3-0 on the first day, but they had a lot of players out. They’ll be strong, I have no doubt.

“It’s one of the toughest games we’ll play all season, but we are capable of the kind of football that can beat anyone in this league on any day.

“Having won our past two it’d be good to keep the run going.”

Holbeach will have to do without the unavailable Luke Kennedy and injured Ben Brown (head), while Lawrence Lambley (foot) is rated doubtful after missing the Blackstones game. Matt Warfield (leg) and Paul Goodhand (calf) remain sidelined, but there is encouraging news on the latter, with the midfield ace set to return to training next week. Addie Staffieri and Tommy Treacher are vying to partner Ash Stevens in attack.

• The Tigers are taking a bus to Hucknall Town for their lucrative FA Cup tie on September 3. Fans are welcome to join the team on the coach, at a cost of £10 per seat. Anybody interested should email holbeachunited@sky.com or call 07733 123936.