AJ ready for Raiders captaincy
- Credit: Archant
Smith: It’s a proud moment
AJ Smith is aiming to lead from the front as captain of London Raiders this season.
The experienced and talented forward has been entrusted with the captaincy by player-coach Danny Marshall as Raiders embark on their second campaign at Lee Valley.
They begin their National League schedule with a home game against Cardiff on Saturday and Smith said: “It’s an honour to be made the Raiders captain for this season.
“I grew up playing as a junior in Romford and watching the Raiders play at Rom Valley Way with my parents every weekend and it’s a proud moment to be the captain.
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“With a lot more youngsters in the squad this year than ever before it’s a role that comes with a lot of responsibility.
“The youngsters will be looking up to me and the other senior guys on the team for support and guidance and we’ve got the right guys to help them develop.”
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Raiders only confirmed their place in the league late last month, after a supporters group was formed to raise sponsorship and other funding to cover start-up costs.
Ollie Oliver had stepped down as team owner, following the shock death of manager Mick Cahill, but Raiders were kept on ice by a lot of hard work behind the scenes and Marshall’s team will include the likes of 19-year-old Jacob Ranson, who returns to the club following a spell at Milton Keynes, as well as new faces in the shape of youngsters TJ Fillery, James Buckingham, Jack Lee and brothers Bailey, Haydn and Taylor Wootton in their line-up this season.
Smith is backing the squad, which has been boosted by the signing of four players from Cardiff, to make a good impression, adding: “I’m really impressed by the squad Dan has managed to get together with the budget restraints and short amount of time he had to get it all done.
“It’s great to see (Jakub) Klima back, he was the best import in the league last year and our other import D-man (Vaclav Drabek) has looked very impressive in training.
“Overall I think people will be surprised by us this year and people should definitely not underestimate us. Te young kids will all be out to prove themselves at this level and the Cardiff boys are a great addition to the team also.
“All in all there is a lot to be positive about right now within the club.”