Express & Star

Paul Smith hopes fans will be Halesowen's 12th man for derby

Halesowen Town manager Paul Smith has hailed the Yeltz’s ‘fantastic’ support, and hopes it can help his side to victory against fierce rivals Stourbridge tomorrow.


The Yetlz announced that 33,188 fans passed through their turnstiles in 2023 giving them an average of 1,185 fans per home game.

Heading into their Southern Central Premier derby fixture with the Glassboys – who will be without striker Luke Benbow for the remainder of the season due to injury – Yeltz boss Smith hopes the fans can be his side’s 12th-man in the No.9 derby.

It’s fantastic,” said Smith. “When I first came through the door we were averaging 300, so to be up to where we are now it’s testament to the hard work that’s been put in on and off the pitch.

“The fans have been our 12th-man on numerous occasions and we’re looking forward to hopefully putting on a display for them this weekend.

“We look forward to every game but this one in particular. We went to their place in September and came away with a brilliant performance and a fantastic win.

“They’ll be looking to turn the table and get one back on us, but we’re at home in our fortress, and have 2,000 fans that’ll be cheering us on. Hopefully they’ll be our 12th-man in what is set to be a tremendous occasion.”

Smith yesterday bolstered his ranks with the eye-catching signing of Bromsgrove Sporting centre-half and captain Tom Taylor in time to face former club Stourbridge.

‘’Tommy is a fantastic signing for us and just the kind we need at the moment to improve our group,” Smith said. “He is a big, strong and commanding defender who I look forward to working with.”

Sitting ninth in the standings with two wins from the last six, Smith admitted that it’s been a mixed bag recently, as they face the Glassboys, who are currently 15th.

The boss added: “We’ve been a bit indifferent over the last month or six weeks. I think we’re all on a learning curve being back at this level again.

“As the weather’s turned and the pitches have changed, I think we’ve been found out a bit. We haven’t been able to play the football that we had in the first couple of months in the season.

“We’re a little bit hit and miss at the moment but we’re working hard on it, and we’re hoping that the consistency that we had in the first ten weeks will come back sooner rather than later.”

Despite being six points adrift of the final spot, Smith has his sights set on the play-off places and hopes his side’s togetherness can help them achieve their goal.

“Our standards are high, we’d love to gatecrash those play-offs come the end of the season.

“A top-half finish would be a fantastic first year, but we’ve got our eyes on the play-offs. We think we’ve got a good enough group with a bit of tweaking. The squad is very close, and that’s what you need to have to be successful.

“They’re a fantastic group. We’re trying to work on a different style of play, but that doesn’t happen overnight. We’re learning on the job back in this division, but we’re thoroughly enjoying it.”

National League Kidderminster Harriers, who visit Rochdale, extended the loan of Chesterfield attacker Bailey Hobson by another month and brought in Wolves midfield youngster Owen Hesketh, 21, for the rest of the season. In the National League North Rushall Olympic travel to Chester.

In the Northern Premier League, Stafford Rangers host Basford United, while in the Northern One Midlands Lye Town entertain Anstey Nomads, Walsall Wood welcome Harborough, and Sporting Khalsa visit Rugby Town.

In the Northern One West, Chasetown go to Vauxhall Motors, and Hednesford Town host Widnes.