Pompey promise to get best from Michael Smith

Michael Smith celebrates opening his Pompey account. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith celebrates opening his Pompey account. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey will get the best out of Michael Smith.

Blues assistant manager Leam Richardson believes the striker is at the right place to get him firing on all cylinders once again.

Smith opened his goal account against Bristol Rovers on Saturday, following his loan arrival from Swindon Town.

The 24-year-old showcased his potential with a headed finish from Ben Davies’ cross on the stroke of half-time.

That was the Geordie’s first goal of the campaign after a difficult loan spell at Barnsley in League One.

Smith failed to find the net in four starts and nine appearances off the bench at Oakwell.

That saw him return to the County Ground where Paul Cook was quick to make his desire to bring in the player known.

Smith has now started three games on the bounce after not beginning a game since the start of November.

The 6ft 4in hitman has also not completed 90 minutes since August.

So Richardson is aware Pompey are going to have to work closely with Smith to get him up to speed.

He feels he has now served notice of his potential to Blues fans after a tough period.

Richardson said: ‘We brought Michael to the club because we have an opinion of him.

‘He needs to play games and, as you saw against Bristol Rovers, with more minutes you will see more of Michael as a player.

‘There were flashes of that against Bristol Rovers, so hopefully we can give him more minutes on the pitch and hopefully you will see him get more goals.

‘He’s fine. He has come with a good appetite, he wants to play and loves football.

‘He’s one of those young lads we think we can get the best out of and he can get the best out of us.’

Breaking his goal duck came at the 21st time of asking in a disjointed campaign for Smith.

He made four starts for Swindon before his Barnsley move – and then returned to his parent club after failing to make his mark.

Smith’s goal record through his career more than stands up to inspection, however.

Swindon benefitted from 18 goals last term in a campaign which ended in play-off defeat.

It was the same return the previous season in spells with the Robins and AFC Wimbledon in League Two.

Smith did pass up a decent opportunity to add to his tally on Saturday, however, when he fired wide from six yards .

Richardson, who worked with Smith in his time at Accrington Stanley, is certain he has the attributes of a goal poacher who will make his mark for Pompey.

He said: ‘If you look at his stats he is a goalscorer.

‘He is still a young lad, he’s still learning, still has loads to learn and hopefully it can only be a good thing for Portsmouth.’