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Jacko On AJ Leitch-Smith

3 June 2016

Assistant manager thoughts on new signing

Shrewsbury Town have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of striker AJ Leitch-Smith on a two-year contract.
The Staffordshire born hitman arrives at the Greenhous Meadow after turning down the offer of a new deal at Port Vale.
Assistant manager Mike Jackson said he was delighted to bring Leitch-Smith on board and revealed it wasn’t the first time there had been interested in the graduate of the famous Crewe Alexandra academy.
“We did actually speak to him in the year we went up in the summer there when we were recruiting then but it didn’t work out for a few reasons so we have known about him for a while,” Jackson told ShrewsWeb.
“He has gone to Port Vale and he has scored goals and again he fits the bill of being around these levels who can get double figures in goals which is really important that we have people who can score. 
“He has great movement. He has been well schooled at Crewe when he was younger and we have known about him and watched him for a long time. 
“He links up play well and he creates for others as well with his movement so it is a really good positive one for us.”
Leitch-Smith is the third player this summer to make the switch from the Potteries to Shropshire, following Louis Dodds and Ryan McGivern from Vale Park.
Jackson said: “These players that come in, if they know someone that is great as it makes you a little bit more secure but once you’ve met the new lads and training starts and pre-season is going then we will make sure as much as we can that they do settle in. 
“They are a little closer to home as well so they are not having to travel three and four hours to get to the ground and they can stay in their own beds. Again this is something you have to look at when you are recruiting. We are delighted to have him.”
At 26, Leitch-Smith continues the recruitment pattern of experienced players and Jackson said that was key.
“As a striker you are talking between the ages of 25 and 29 or 30 you know the game. It is then about fine tuning and making yourself better and that again is what we want to try and do with these players,” he said.
“We have not brought them in to just leave them there and say well they’ve played the level so just get on with it. We don’t want to do that. 
“We have brought players in we can work with and we want to try and improve these players and try to make them better.”
With Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Scott Vernon both leaving the club at the end of last season, Jackson said it was vital that a striker was near the top of the recruitment wish list.
And he revealed that the club could be in the market for one more forward player.
“We had to bring a striker in,” he said.
“We are possibly looking for another one maybe. You need that sort of competition up front like we have got in the middle of the park and that we are trying to get at the back as well. 
“You need three or four strikers to give you options and to freshen things up. Strikers always rely on that sharpness so you need the options to change the big games.
“We are delighted with all the signings so far. The work that everyone is putting into it is coming to fruition now.”

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