FROM lining up for Littleton, Matt Smith is confident of completing a “meteoric” 12-month rise by starting for npower League One side Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Evesham-based striker, who scored nine goals for Athium Midland Combination Division One outfit Littleton last season, is competing for a place in Oldham’s starting line-up after an encouraging pre-season.

The 6ft 6ins frontman scored goals in friendly matches against Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool respectively.

This has caught the eye of his Latics boss Paul Dickov, who may choose to pick Smith for his side’s League One opener against Sheffield United at Boundary Park on Saturday (ko 3pm).

Smith was particularly pleased to score against Premier League Blackburn, who fielded a full-strength side including ex-England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

After his spell at Littleton, Smith went on to score 23 goals in 27 games during spells with Blue Square Bet North for Redditch United, Manchester-based Droylsden and then Solihull Moors before signing for Oldham in June. He also graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in international business management last month.

Despite initially finding full-time training hard to adjust to, the former Evesham United Juniors forward is raring to take the Football League by storm.

He will be vying for a first team place for Saturday’s opener alongside fellow strikers Warren Feeney and ex-West Bromwich Albion hitman Reuben Reid.

Smith said: “At the moment, it looks like I’m in contention for a starting place for the first game.

“But I don’t want to get carried away with things. I’m definately improving the more I’m playing, with my movement and sharpness.

“I’m dying to be in the starting 11, I can’t wait.

“This time last year I was told I wouldn’t be in the starting 11 at Redditch United and then went to Littleton to get first team experience. It’s been a remarkable year, a meteoric rise.

“My individual aim is to cement my place in the starting 11 for Oldham. To get double figures for goals would be great.”