Smith lauds Niemi influence
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Southampton goalkeeper Paul Smith has paid tribute to the influence of Antti Niemi on his development.
The 23-year-old has produced some inspired performances in recent weeks as Saints battle to avoid relegation from The Premiership.
Niemi, the first choice keeper at St Mary's, has been out with a knee injury since January, but Smith acknowledges the quality of the Finnish number one.
"Antti is a top-class international and I have benefited from working with him," Smith told the Daily Express.
With Niemi likely to be fit for the upcoming FA Cup tie with Manchester United, manager Harry Redknapp faces a tough selection decision.
"It certainly gives me a dilemma," admitted Redknapp.