Boston United loanee George Smith helped through the ‘tough times’ by former Pilgrims manager Mel Sterland

George Smith.
George Smith.

George Smith believes his career is back on track following some advice from former Boston United manager Mel Sterland.

The 22-year-old defender made his debut at the Jakemans Stadium on Saturday after arriving on loan from National League Chesterfield until the end of the season.

While Smith may be new to the club, he has firm family connections with the place.

His mum’s partner is Chris James, who made 38 appearances in the 1995-96 campaign, playing under his brother-in-law Sterland, the former Pilgrims player-manager.

“He tells me all about his career and he’s been a big help in the tough times I’ve had this season,” Smith said of Sterland, who won the 1991-92 First Division title with Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds United.

“I’ve not had a bit of luck and he puts his arm round me. He’s an international, he’s played in the Premier League and with Sheffield Wednesday.

“If you can’t take advice from him, who are you going to take it off? He’s been a massive help to me, to get my head right mentally.”

Former Barnsley and Northampton Town left back Smith has arrived looking for games after a frustrating period with Chesterfield and also on loan at Dover this campaign.

“I’ve not been given a chance much this season,” said Smith, who admits he could be looking to impress at Boston for the long term as his Spireites contract comes to an end this summer.

“The gaffer has signed me and I want to repay him for that. I want to keep kicking on and keep them standards up.”

Smith was brought in as cover for regular left back Ashley Jackson, who was sidelined for Saturday’s defeat to Chorley.

Boston manager Craig Elliott said: “He’s got seven days of medication so I’m hoping, Thursday, he’ll be back training and okay.

“There was no need to risk him. He’s had a bit of pneumonia and problems with his lungs so hopefully he’s okay.

“I’m harsh as a manager. If it’s a bad ankle or hamstring strain I’d throw him in there.

“But something like that you need to be careful. The lad wanted to play but you’ve got to be careful.”

Boston striker Jonny Margetts has moved to Matlock Town for the remainder of the season.