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Smith on All Whites Flight to Peru and Set to Start Play-Off Second Leg
Sunday, 12th Nov 2017 19:35

Town defender Tommy Smith is expected to be fit enough to start for New Zealand in the second leg of their World Cup qualification play-off against Peru in Lima in the early hours of Thursday morning, despite having been forced off with a calf injury in Saturday’s first game in Wellington, which ended 0-0.

Smith, former Blues loan striker Chris Wood (hamstring), now with Burnley, and West Ham defender and All Whites skipper Winston Reid (bruising) were all nursing injuries after the first game - the Town centre-half was replaced in the 67th minute - but the trio were in the party which flew to South America on Sunday with manager Anthony Hudson expecting them to be fine for the away leg, the winner of which will claim a place at next summer’s finals in Russia.

"Overall, the whole team has had a good recovery session and the medical staff say we're in a good place. We have a couple that we need to monitor, but nothing serious," Hudson said.

"In the next couple of days we need to make sure we do everything possible to get our best team on the pitch."

Smith, who has won 36 full caps, scoring two international goals, said he was confident he will be OK to take his place in the All Whites' backline as he prepared to board the first plane ahead of the 16-hour trip from Wellington to Lima via Auckland and Buenos Aires.

Town have been monitoring Smith's fitness closely since Saturday's match and the Macclesfield-born defender would have flown back to the UK had he been ruled out of the second leg.

"I have spoken to Tommy and New Zealand will obviously be assessing his progress," Town physio Matt Byard told the club site. "If he has no chance of playing he will return to us.

The 27-year-old played in all three of New Zealand’s games the last time they reached the finals, in South Africa in 2010, and also represented the nation where he lived between the ages of eight and 16 at the 2012 Olympics.

Also on the flight was Blues youngster Monty Patterson, 20, who has won 15 full caps and has scored one international goal.

Photo: Action Images

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Currie10 added 23:10 - Nov 12
Good luck Tommy - in advance, to help NZ please don't allow the ball to bounce like you did away at Cardiff.....

Have to say I think we now have better than you however get fully fit and see what you can do this season. Tough ask in Peru for a bang average side...!

Sam added 06:12 - Nov 13
What is the news on Adyemei and huws

Dissboyitfc added 07:20 - Nov 13
currie10.... who is better and left footed?....No one is the answer!

PavlovsCat added 08:47 - Nov 13
I wouldn’t worry too much about the injury. I’d be more worried about the Lima traffic! 😱

cat added 13:38 - Nov 13
Agree with Dissboyitfc on this one, but don’t rate Smith that highly, I would still prefer him over the gaff riddled Chambers any day.
Interesting to hear that the ‘injury prone’ Steven Taylor has made 18 appearances for Posh this season, now there’s a player who on his day I do rate and wish we had kept.

Seasider added 14:50 - Nov 13

Seasider added 14:53 - Nov 13
Dissboy.I was going to say that I think Jonas Knudsen is currently better in the left centre position,although Tommy has had a long layoff because of injury.

BlueandTruesince82 added 18:22 - Nov 13

Chocorange added 19:54 - Nov 13
Great article bluesandtrues like it! He should definitely b a contender!

dirtydingusmagee added 09:48 - Nov 14
just hope he's all white when he returns, don't need further injury setbacks .

Seasider added 13:08 - Nov 14
Agree with Chocorange BluesandTruessince82.An astonishing record.

Mr Evans would also be pleased as he didn't need much money to reach the EUFA Cup.

Unfortunately we are presently stuck with McCarthy,and who's to say he will go even at the end of the season,especially if we reach the play-offs.

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