Cook: Smith’s Pompey flak is unwarranted

Pompey front man Michael Smith Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey front man Michael Smith Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith in action for Bury against Northampton Picture: Sharon Lucey

Much-maligned striker back to face Pompey

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POMPEY fans alone will decide their treatment of Michael Smith.

But Paul Cook believes the flak flying in the striker’s direction is unwarranted.

Smith has found himself the target of boo boys since sealing a permanent move from Swindon in the summer.

Cook feels that stick has arrived from a minority of Blues followers.

He believes there is little he can say or do to decide how supporters treat players, though, with it the choice of the individual.

He said: ‘It’s up the supporters to decide (how they react).

‘A lot of criticism has been for Michael Smith. It should be the team who get criticised after a defeat.

‘Our best performance last season was Accrington away and our best performance this season was Luton away. Michael Smith played both.

‘No-one discussed Conor’s (Chaplin) misses because he’s Conor. If Michael misses it’s Michael.

‘But there’s an acceptance from our players of where we’re at and where our supporters are at.’

With two defeats in 12, Cook feels there is more cause for optimism than being downbeat. Despite that, the players have to be able to handle any negativity.

‘Portsmouth Football Club is a fantastic club with a fantastic fan base,’ added Cook.

‘There is a minority of supporters at any club who want to be negative.

‘What are you going to do? Help them be negative? You keep going.

‘We’re going to get stick as we go along. What are we going to do? Sulk about it.

‘Come on. Let’s stay on the same page, let’s try to get promoted and let’s try to see a lot of happy faces.

‘I don’t think our club is negative, but with social media you will always get an amount of people.

‘I look at 16,500 fans for Leyton Orient, I see 2,300 fans for Crawley. I don’t see a lot to be negative about.

‘I think we’re doing great – but I just live in my own cuckoo world, don’t I!’