Forward relishing fifth shot at the top flight
Cardiff City's Tommy Smith has spoken about his delight at having another shot at the Premier League - and his belief in the Club's ability to retain Premier League status under the guidance of Malky Mackay.
Injury blighted the talented forward for the middle part of last season, though the former Watford, Portsmouth and QPR man will undoubtedly prove a valuable and experienced asset when the Bluebirds begin their assault on the Barclays Premier League in four weeks time.
“I can’t wait for Premier League football and it’s been the same for me from the moment the fixtures came out,” said Smith from the Club's Swiss training base in Lausanne.
“West Ham away. That’s the fixture we are building towards and it can’t come quickly enough. Manchester City in our first match at home is another huge fixture and it’s important we get a decent start.
“There is no doubt in our squad we are as strong, if not stronger, than those other clubs who have gone up. With the attention to detail the coaching staff put in and the scope we have in terms of signing players we have to look, at the least, to making sure we stick in the Premier League.
“There is nothing left to chance with the gaffer, he is a real workaholic. There is a good reason things ran so smoothly last season and that has nothing to do with luck. A lot of hard graft, on and off the pitch, went into our promotion.
“I was with him at Watford when he first moved into management and he hit the ground running. The job he did for Watford was outstanding over two or three seasons and he fully deserved to step up to the Cardiff job and has again showed what a great manager he is.
“There is no doubt in my mind he has a bright future. As a player I am lucky to be working with him and Cardiff are lucky to have him here. Malky Mackay is pushing our club in the right direction.
“It is a big jump to the top level, but for me the gap has closed between those at the top of Championship football and lower Premier League clubs.
“That factor will help us. We have to understand that a lack of concentration can cost you. That’s the big difference.
“You can occasionally get away with a bad game in the second tier, but that doesn’t often happen at Premier level. You will almost inevitably be punished.
“At the top level you can’t be afraid of anybody. We have to believe we can do a job against whoever we are playing and go in believing we can earn a positive result.
“For me personally this is an opportunity to play at the best level and as an athlete that’s where you want to be. The Championship is a fantastic division, but we earned promotion after a tough season and that is a great feeling.
“Our group has a Premier League mentality. There is a desire and a hunger running through the squad. We have players with points to prove at this level."