Date: 1st December 2006 at 7:48pm
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Alan Smith did surprisingly well in pre-season training but he hasn’t made any progress since and it wasn’t assessed in time.

This is a remarkable confession by Sir Alex Ferguson who puzzled me in recent weeks by never putting Smith even on the bench.

‘I think we did misread the situation when he came back for pre-season training and did very well,’ said Ferguson on Sky Sports News.

‘We were surprised by how well he did after such an injury.

‘There was no progress after the initial pre-season training and we didn’t really realise that until we saw him play against Crewe and Southend.’

He added: ‘His future at the club, hopefully, is good. What we are doing with Alan at the moment is we’ve got him on a speed programme.

‘It’s quite intensive and he’s working very hard at it. He knows where there’s progress to be made.

‘Alan knew himself he had work to do, he is doing that at the moment and is progressing very well now.’

With the arrival of Larsson and the potential of Rossi, one may disagree with the claims about Smudger’s future. I personally think United will look for a classy striker in the summer and that would mean the end of Smith’s Old Trafford career.

I do not doubt he’s working hard, that was never in question with Smith. But it cannot be denied that pace was never his strongest asset and losing it completely would blight his career. I hope this speed programme works as I’d like to see Smith enjoying some success again – even if that would not come around at Old Trafford for him.