Boss hails Smith's desire
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has hailed England striker Alan Smith's contribution to the Toon
Last Updated: 08/12/07 11:47am
Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce has hailed England striker Alan Smith's contribution to the Toon.
Smith has been playing in central midfield since he signed from Manchester United in the summer for £6 million.
But for the last two games he has partnered Obafemi Martins up front and did particularly well in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Wednesday.
This performance earned the applause of the St James's Park faithful - a welcome change from the boos of the previous two home games against Liverpool and Portsmouth.
Speaking of Smith's contribution, Allardyce told The Sun: "Alan's last two performances have been his best in a Newcastle shirt.
"He gives us something different. He has a desire to upset the opposition's defences and then use his ability.
"My other strikers want to use their ability against the opposition defence before they use their physical capabilities.
"Alan tests a defender's resolve first, then uses his abilities to start most of the attacks after that.
"He did that against Arsenal and it was very important to us. He upset their two central defenders and that gave us the momentum we needed to build some constant pressure throughout the second half.
"Ultimately, that led to our goal and the point we thoroughly deserved."
Allardyce added: "Alan will do a job anywhere for the team and we want all the players to be like that.
"I didn't sign him specifically as a striker. I signed him because he wanted to play football.
"He wanted to play football in any position that you picked him because he was sick and tired of not being involved."
Meanwhile, defender Steven Taylor, who scored against Arsenal, is hoping to build on that result by beating Birmingham at St James's Park on Saturday.
The Premier League fixture has added spice as Birmingham, then in the Championship, won an FA Cup tie 5-1 in January on their last visit to St James's Park.
Taylor, who was sent off in that game, said: "Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong that night. It was a real kick in the teeth.
"We were fantastic against Arsenal and I felt we deserved to win it.
"But that won't count for anything unless we perform against Birmingham.
"We've got to forget about the Arsenal game, and concentrate on getting a win. It's been a while since we've had one and we need some points on the board."