Curle praises Chukwuemeka and reveals he spoke with Smith over striker's goal drought

Harry Smith and Keith Curle exchange views on the touchline at Burton. Picture: Pete NortonHarry Smith and Keith Curle exchange views on the touchline at Burton. Picture: Pete Norton
Harry Smith and Keith Curle exchange views on the touchline at Burton. Picture: Pete Norton
Forward pair were integral to Saturday's win at Burton Albion

Keith Curle revealed he held several conversations with Harry Smith about the striker's lack of goals prior to his brace during Saturday's win over Burton Albion.

The 25-year-old scored from the penalty spot against Cardiff City on the opening day of the season but then went 10 games without a goal before Town's visit to the Brewers.

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Curle kept faith with his striker and his decision to restore him to the team at the Pirelli Stadium paid off handsomely as Smith took just two minutes to break the deadlock before doubling his tally in the second-half.

"It's important for all centre-forwards to score goals because it's something that plays on their minds but the pleasing thing for me was Harry's involvement in the game," said Curle afterwards.

"Take the goals out of it and I thought he played with a bit more freedom and he had a smile on his face. I've had good conversations with Harry and I've been working with him about the pressure of being a centre-forward and the pressure of having to score goals.

"You need craft first of all and play your role in the team and then goals will come. His second goal on Saturday was a great finish."

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Smith was certainly not the only player to impress on Saturday with fellow forward Caleb Chukwuemeka also catching the eye on his first league start. The 18-year-old academy striker had an excellent afternoon before being replaced by Michael Harriman with 20 minutes to go.

Curle added: "Caleb bounced on the tarmac but he's OK and it was excellent and a great experience for him to be in a winning team and playing a part.

"His understanding of the game is coming on day by day, week by week. We do video analysis work with him, we do extra work on the training ground with him and he wants to learn.

"He still doesn't do things naturally but that's how young players develop. What he has got is an ability to take the ball in, move with the ball, control the ball and he's a threat going forward.

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"He just needs to work on his game out of possession and being in the right position for the team because when you step up to professional level, you've got to be in the right place at the right time, but as an individual, I enjoy working with him and I think he's got a bright future."

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