Smith praises Swinton professionalism

Mark Smith has praised the professionalism of Swinton Lions as they head into their fifth round Challenge Cup tie with Warrington Wolves tonight.

The 29-year old former Widnes captain accepts there are light years between the two clubs but says the Lions deserve credit for their approach this season which has taken them to the top of Championship One with an unbeaten record.

Smith, who played in Super League and won the Challenge Cup with Wigan, said: “Swinton want to move on as a club and it is run very professionally.

“Our coach Steve McCormack has brought a lot more of that to the club.

“We do video sessions, we do speed sessions and everything is controlled.

“With Ian Watson and Marlon Billy taking the training we are a fit, tough, strong squad.

“We train three times a week and all the lads love it, they get on with their jobs and go home with smiles on their faces.”

Swinton reached the last 16 of the Cup last season by default when Halifax were kicked out for fielding an ineligible player and the Lions were re-instated before losing to Batley.

Their best run before that was in 2003 when they lost to Wigan in the quarter final and Smith was playing for the Warriors.

But Smith reckons the standard at the bottom end of the pyramid is getting better.

“I can’t speak high enough of this level,” he said. “I played in Super League five years ago, I’ve played in the Championship and now I’m in Championship One.

“These lads work nine to five Monday to Friday and turn up and put in some great performances.

“You don’t need to say much to them and I’m just happy to be playing alongside them. To be honest I’m still learning the game even at this stage of my career.”

Swinton half-back Carl Forber has extended his loan deal with Oldham but on a day-to-day  basis with the Lions able to recall him at 72 hours notice.

He won’t be able to play in next week’s clash between the sides at the Willows on Friday.

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