AJ Leitch-Smith

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AJ Leitch-Smith
Leitch-Smith, AJ.jpg
Leitch-Smith in 2010
Personal information
Full name Jay Leitch-Smith
Date of birth (1990-03-06) 6 March 1990 (age 26)
Place of birth Crewe, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[1]
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Shrewsbury Town
Youth career
1997–2008 Crewe Alexandra
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2008–2014 Crewe Alexandra 103 (19)
2008 Halifax Town (loan) 3 (1)
2009 Newcastle Town (loan) 4 (1)
2009 ÍBV (loan) 18 (5)
2010 Curzon Ashton (loan) 10 (7)
2014–2015 Yeovil Town 33 (2)
2015–2016 Port Vale 37 (11)
2016– Shrewsbury Town 0 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:00, 9 May 2016 (UTC).

† Appearances (goals)

Jay "AJ" Leitch-Smith (born 6 March 1990) is an English professional footballer who plays as a forward for League One side Shrewsbury Town.

A graduate of the Academy at Crewe Alexandra, he played on loan for Halifax Town, Newcastle Town, ÍBV (Iceland), and Curzon Ashton. He spent six years with Crewe, winning the League Two play-offs in 2012 and the Football League Trophy in 2013. He signed with Yeovil Town in June 2014, but moved on to Port Vale in July 2015 after a poor season with Yeovil. He finished as Port Vale's top-scorer, before moving on to Shrewsbury Town in June 2016.

Playing career[edit]

Crewe Alexandra[edit]

Whilst on the books at Crewe Alexandra as a youth player, Leitch-Smith was loaned out to non-League clubs Halifax Town in November 2008 and Newcastle Town in March 2009.[2] He signed his first professional contract in April 2009, before joining Icelandic club ÍBV on loan.[3] He was recalled from his loan, along with Chris Clements, in early September due to injury problems at Crewe.[4][5]

He made his League Two debut for Crewe at Gresty Road in a 3–2 defeat to Bury on 29 September 2009, replacing Joel Grant as a substitute in the 80th minute.[6] This was his only appearance of the 2009–10 season. He joined Curzon Ashton on loan in March 2010.[7] He scored seven goals in ten Northern Premier League appearances, which was enough to win him a new contract at Crewe.[8]

He scored his first goal in the Football League on 21 August 2010, adding the final goal of the "Railwaymen's" 7–0 win over Barnet.[9] However he was limited to only 18 appearances in the 2010–11 season as he struggled to step up to first team football, and manager Dario Gradi devised a special pre-season fitness programme in the summer to help him to adapt to senior football.[10]

Leitch-Smith scored nine goals in 44 games in the 2011–12 campaign. He signed a new one-year contract in April 2012, and manager Steve Davis stated "I'd like to think that he can become the 15 to 20 goal a season man we need."[11] On 27 May, he played the first 85 minutes of the League Two play-off Final victory over Cheltenham Town at Wembley Stadium, providing the assist for Byron Moore's goal which secured the 2–0 victory and Crewe's promotion into League One.[12]

He scored six goals in 35 matches in the 2012–13 season. On 7 April he made another appearance at Wembley, as the Alex beat Southend United 2–0 in the Football League Trophy Final; he was an 83rd-minute substitute for Max Clayton.[13] The next month he signed a one-year extension to his existing contract.[14] However he played just 24 games in the 2013–14 season, scoring two goals. He left Crewe after an eleven-year association with his hometown club, saying he felt like a "part of the furniture" of the club.[15]

Yeovil Town[edit]

In June 2014, Leitch-Smith signed for Gary Johnson's League One club Yeovil Town on a two-year contract.[16] He struggled in his first season for the "Glovers", as he was played mostly in a wide position.[17] He only scored twice in 38 appearances and was one of four players offered a contract termination by new manager Paul Sturrock following Yeovil's relegation into League Two at the end of the season.[18]

Port Vale[edit]

In July 2015, Leitch-Smith signed a 12-month deal with League One side Port Vale after agreeing to leave Yeovil.[19] He earned the contract after impressing manager Rob Page during pre-season training.[20] He scored his first goal for the "Valiants" on 14 November, with a header than opened the scoring in a 2–1 win at Barnsley.[21] This was the start a sequence of five goals in four games, which was the best scoring run of his career to that point.[22] For his performances he was short-listed for the League One player of the month award.[23] After scoring his sixth goal of the season in a 1–1 draw with Scunthorpe United at Vale Park on 12 December he was named the Football League Paper's team of the day.[24] He scored four goals in four games in January to go into double figures for the season and earn himself a nomination for the PFA fans' player of the month award for League One.[25] Chairman Norman Smurthwaite confirmed that Leitch-Smith had rejected the offer of a new contract from the club in May 2016.[26]

Shrewsbury Town[edit]

Leitch-Smith signed with League One side Shrewsbury Town in June 2016, along with former Port Vale teammates Ryan McGivern and Louis Dodds.[27]

Style of play[edit]

Though Leitch-Smith lacks natural athleticism and pace, he is an intelligent and creative attacker with good technical skills and a high work rate.[28][1] Former teammate Tom Pope stated that Leitch-Smith was "one of the most intelligent strikers... in League One".[29]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 31 May 2016.
Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Other[30] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
ÍBV (loan) 2009[31] Úrvalsdeild 14 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 4
Crewe Alexandra 2008–09[32] League One 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2009–10[33] League Two 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2010–11[34] League Two 16 5 1 0 0 0 1 0 18 5
2011–12[35] League Two 38 8 1 0 1 0 4 1 44 9
2012–13[36] League One 28 4 0 0 2 1 5 1 35 6
2013–14[37] League One 20 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 24 2
Total 103 19 3 0 4 1 12 2 122 22
Yeovil Town 2014–15[38] League One 33 2 3 0 1 0 1 0 38 2
Port Vale 2015–16[39] League One 37 11 3 2 2 0 1 0 43 13
Shrewsbury Town 2016–17[40] League One 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career total 187 36 9 2 7 1 14 2 217 41
Notes
  • Statistics in non-league football unavailable.

Honours[edit]

with Crewe Alexandra

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Baggaley, Mike (16 November 2015). "Michael O'Connor ready for the Leitch-Smith and Dodds show...". The Sentinel. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Leitch-Smith Joins Halifax". crewealex.net. 14 November 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Club recall duo from Iceland". Crewe Mad. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  4. ^ "Crewe recall striker". Sky Sports. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Morse, Peter (2 September 2009). "Teen duo recalled from loan in Iceland". Crewe Chronicle. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Crewe 2 – 3 Bury". BBC Sport. 29 September 2009. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "Leitch-Smith joins Curzon Ashton on loan". crewealexandra-mad.co.uk. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Loan move saved my career says rookie striker Leitch-Smith". The Sentinel. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Highlights - Crewe 7 - 0 Barnet". BBC Sport. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Dario Gradi wants Leitch-Smith fitness improvement". BBC Sport. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "AJ Leitch-Smith signs new one-year Crewe Alexandra deal". BBC Sport. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  12. ^ Begley, Emlyn (27 May 2012). "Cheltenham 0 - 2 Crewe". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  13. ^ Osborne, Chris (7 April 2013). "Crewe 2 - 0 Southend". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "Crewe Alexandra: AJ Leitch-Smith extends contract at Gresty Road". BBC Sport. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "Ajay Leitch-Smith aims to kickstart career at Yeovil Town after becoming part of Crewe Alexandra 'furniture'". Western Gazette. 15 August 2004. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  16. ^ "AJ Leitch-Smith joins Yeovil Town following Crewe departure". BBC Sport. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Rob Page is confident goals will come for Ajay Leitch-Smith". The Sentinel. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  18. ^ "Yeovil Town: Paul Sturrock releases 11 players". BBC Sport. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Port Vale: AJ Leitch-Smith agrees 12-month deal at Vale Park". BBC Sport. 20 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  20. ^ Spinks, Martin (20 July 2015). "Ex-Crewe favourite Ajay Leitch-Smith joins Valiants". The Sentinel. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Barnsley 1 - 2 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  22. ^ "Hitman Ajay praises boss and team-mates as he hits form of his career". The Sentinel. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  23. ^ Baggaley, Mike (4 December 2015). "Ajay Leitch-Smith shortlisted for League One player of the month award". The Sentinel. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  24. ^ Baggaley, Mike (15 December 2015). "Ajay Leitch-Smith and Ben Purkiss named in Football League Paper team of the day". The Sentinel. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  25. ^ Baggaley, Mike (28 January 2016). "Ajay Leitch-Smith shortlisted for League One award". The Sentinel. Retrieved 28 January 2016. 
  26. ^ Sharpe, Rich (31 May 2016). "Norman Smurthwaite reveals top scorer Ajay Leitch-Smith will leave the club". The Sentinel. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  27. ^ "Shrewsbury Town sign AJ Leitch-Smith and Ryan McGivern". BBC Sport. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  28. ^ Pope, Tom (25 July 2015). "They were all legends when I was a Port Vale fan". The Sentinel. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  29. ^ Baggaley, Mike (27 November 2015). "Tom Pope on Port Vale: Why defenders hate playing against Ajay Leitch-Smith". The Sentinel. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  30. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the Football League Trophy.
  31. ^ AJ Leitch-Smith profile at Soccerway
  32. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  33. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  34. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  35. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  36. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  37. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  38. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  39. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  40. ^ "Games played by AJ Leitch-Smith in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 

External links[edit]