BUSY Redditch United boss Paul Smith has brought in former Halesowen Town assistant Matt Clarke as his new number two.

Clarke was ironically expected to take his place in time for the New Year's Day clash against his previous club.

Rumours had been rife that Smith was set to appoint former Stafford Rangers boss Neil Kitching as his assistant but the Reds boss explained:

"Neil still wants to be a No.1 and had he come on board at Redditch, I think it would have only been short term.

"I believe he has gone back in the for the Stafford Rangers job again after Steve Burr resigned over the Christmas period.

"Matt Clarke fits the role perfectly. He's someone I've know for a long time and someone I can trust.

"He has a vast knowledge of players at this level of football and is someone who is happy to be an assistant. It's a real good appointment.

"In fact I've been surprised at the calibre of people who have been in touch with me over the position when it became known I was looking for an assistant manager, even though the position hadn't been advertised!

However, Smith was exactly ecstatic after his previous assistant Martin Sockett did a real job on Reds last Saturday as Barwell beat them 4-0.

The result rapidly brought Reds back down to earth following their fabulous 4-2 success over arch rivals Alvechurch on Boxing Day.

Smith admitted: "It went from the sublime to the ridiculous. We were outstanding against Alvechurch and needed to be as they were flying.

"We were head and shoulders better than them on the day, which make the performance against Barwell so disappointing. It was a complete shocker which I didn't see coming.

"We seem to have a problem playing on grass. We play and train on synthetic surfaces and seem to struggle when adjusting to grass.

"Incredibly, we've only picked up one point on grass all season - and that was a 4-4 draw at Kettering!

Smith was expecting to unleash new signing Jack Storer against Halesowen Town.

Smith snapped up the former Blues and Partick Thistle player prior to Christmas but has been waiting for his international clearance to come through.

Storer is seen as a ready-made replacement for Harry White who has now departed Reds for a spell of football in Australia.

Smith claimed: "Jack needs to start enjoying his football again. He was very highly rated by former Birmingham City boss Gary Rowatt but things haven't worked out for him.

"He's only 21 and i believe I can help start to get him back to where he should be".

Reds continue the local derby theme this Saturday when they travel to Rushall Olympic.