New-boy Smith will lead line and score goals for Pompey

Michael Smith    Picture: Joe Pepler

Michael Smith Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey debate: Was Chaplin underused by Cook?

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Paul Cook believes Michael Smith will produce the goals to aid Pompey’s bid to escape League Two.

The striker was thrown in for his Blues debut at Morecambe last night – 24 hours following his loan arrival.

He’s a good player and a quality striker who will lead the line and score goals for us

Pompey manager Paul Cook

Cook also altered his favoured 4-2-3-1 system to accommodate the 24-year-old, who lined-up alongside Marc McNulty in attack.

Smith featured for 72 minutes before being replaced by Gary Roberts as the Blues went on to be denied victory by keeper Barry Roche’s stoppage-time leveller.

And Cook is delighted to have captured a player who scored 18 goals for Swindon in League One last term.

He said: ‘We went two lads up top because we were down at Morecambe yesterday and had a look at the pitch.

‘We knew how difficult a night it was going to be for football.

‘Michael’s a target man that will lead the line really well. He will get stronger and fitter with games and will make a quality addition to we have already got.

‘He’s a good player and a quality striker who will lead the line and score goals for us.

‘We’ve had targets all summer and all season, the targets we had in January are quite similar to the ones we had at the start of the year.

‘He was one of those.

‘We just followed them, trailed them, if they are available well and good, if not we move on.’

Smith was one of four changes to the side which performed so admirably against Bournemouth.

Adam Webster, Gareth Evans and Kal Naismith also came into the side, with Gary Roberts, Christian Burgess, Kyle Bennett and Adam McGurk dropping to the bench.

Cook explained ‘Some lads needed to play and for a game that was going to be direct.

‘It was never going to be a great night for Kyle and Gary Roberts to play and put their style of football on the game.’

– NEIL ALLEN

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