BROMSGROVE Sporting boss Paul Smith was ‘over the moon’ to see Luke Shorthouse among the goals in the 5-0 victory over Heather St Johns and hopes the striker has now started to silence his critics.
Since Shorthouse’s move from Coleshill Town, last season’s top scorer for Nuneaton Griff has been unable to cement a regular starting place, mainly down to the fact Sporting’s star striker Jason Cowley has netted 32 goals in as many appearances.
But the 23-year-old, who bagged 44 goals in 51 appearances for Griff last season, has kept knocking on the door and was given his just rewards when he bagged a brace in yesterday’s (Tuesday) Midland League Division One victory over Heather.
And boss Smith heaped praise on Shorthouse, who has experienced full-time football with National League North outfit Nuneaton Town, for his persistence in front of goal after experiencing a spate of ‘unjustified’ comments from the stands.
“It has been a stop-start season for Luke and I feel for him because the comments from the stands have not gone un-noticed and in my opinion they are undeserved,” Smith said.
“Bromsgrove is a huge club with a massive fan base and those fans love strikers.
“Jason Cowley has been unbelievable since he joined but everybody is being put up against him and Luke has received some sharp treatment which is fully unjustified.
“He’s only 23 and still learning his trade but he is hearing all these comments from the fans and the pressure is getting to him a little bit.
“I was over the moon to see him score on Tuesday as he has kept his head down, has not threw the towel in and kept going.
“Hopefully this will pick his confidence up as it is fragile right now, I wish it wasn’t, but it is and hopefully the goals will give him a boost.”
Victory over Heather extended the Rouslers’ unbeaten league campaign to 29 games, a result which followed the 5-2 defeat of Coventry Copsewood at the Victoria Ground on Saturday.
With nine games left Sporting are inching ever closer to ending the season as invincibles but boss Smith has reiterated the players are taking it one game at a time.
And with relegation battlers Pelsall Villa coming to the Victoria Ground this Saturday (3pm KO), Smith is expecting a ‘tougher’ game than usual.
“When you face sides in a relegation dog fight they are sometimes tougher to play than those stuck in mid-table and playing for nothing,” he said.
“I have got a full squad available to me and anything less than three points will not be accepted especially at this stage of the season.
“I am not foolish and understand we are firm favourites to win this league but what is important is to keep these players grounded as we have won nothing yet.
“To go unbeaten is phenomenal for any group of players at any level of football but first and foremost our objective is to win the league.
“The players are right where they need to be and I keep stressing to them that if they continue to work their socks off it could be a special season.”