Forgotten man Leo Smith is looking forward to a fresh start under new manager Sam Ricketts following a “very frustrating” season.

The 19-year-old midfielder made the breakthrough during the 2016-17 campaign and after signing his first professional contract, he scooped the Young Player of the Year award. But despite enjoying a productive pre-season, Smith only made seven league appearances this term, the last of which came as a late substitute in the 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient on October 28.

Opportunities were limited under Dean Keates and Andy Davies, who finished the season as manager, but former Wales international Ricketts has been appointed new Reds boss and Smith hopes to feature more regularly under the rookie manager.

“I played 20-odd games the season before but only played six or seven times this season which is very frustrating,” said Smith, who has one year left on his contract at The Racecourse. “I am not one who is going to complain; if you are not in the team you get on with it and wait patiently.

“This year has made me want to start straight back, show what I can do and prove people wrong. It is a fresh start. I just hope I get more chances.

“I will make sure I am fitter and sharper in pre-season so I am at the top of my game.”

Read more: http://www.leaderlive.co.uk

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