Michael Smith targets Pompey promotion

MICHAEL SMITH is back at Fratton Park '“ and this time wants to finish off the promotion mission.

Friday, 24th June 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:22 pm
Michael Smith. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey yesterday signed the towering striker for an undisclosed fee from Swindon on a two-year deal.

It is a swift return for a player who netted four times in 16 loan appearances for the Blues last term.

Smith did not feature in the play-off semi-final against Plymouth, having returned to the County Ground two weeks earlier.

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Now he has become Paul Cook’s fifth signing of the summer as the squad strengthening continues.

And the softly-spoken Geordie is determined to help Pompey finally leave League Two.

He told The News: ‘I have a lot of mates who were promoted with Barnsley and Wimbledon last season – you see that and realise you have not done anything.

‘I felt sixth place was below what the Portsmouth squad should have achieved last season.

‘The aim was promotion and that didn’t happen.

‘I can’t see why that ambition won’t be achieved this season, the club have signed some good players to add to the group of lads here.

‘The team is going to get stronger and stronger and this is a club which is going in the right direction.

‘After my last game against Hartlepool the manager did mention about trying to get something sorted for a permanent deal.

‘I am delighted to get it finally over the line and signed.

‘Having played at Portsmouth during the second half of the season I knew what it was about.

‘I’m aware of the stature of the club and it’s a club I want to be part of.

‘I didn’t know what was going to happen at Swindon this summer and am delighted to be here.

‘I can’t wait until Tuesday to see the boys again at training.’

Smith had 12 months remaining on his Robins contract after the club activated an option.

Yet they were listening to offers for a player who netted 18 times in their 2014-15 campaign.

Cook had long identified the one-time AFC Wimbledon loanee as his favoured striking target.

And Smith is revelling being back at Fratton.

He added: ‘I had another year left at Swindon so could have stayed, but the opportunity to return to Portsmouth was something I was keen on doing.

‘As soon as I heard they were interested I wanted to come back, there was no other clubs I was considering.

‘Once I got that run of games I thought I did alright last year. Working hard is a minimum, if you can’t have a good game the least you can do is work hard.

‘I have enjoyed working with the gaffer and the staff here and now can continue that relationship.’