Ian Foster is convinced Michael Smith can have an impact on Pompey’s push for promotion.
The on-loan striker has yet to get firing for Paul Cook’s side following his January arrival from Swindon.
Yet he turned in an eye-catching cameo off the bench yesterday in the reserves’ 3-2 victory over Crawley.
Replacing Adam McGurk on 64 minutes, Smith scored one and created another for Adam May in the win at their Copnor Road training base.
It was an impressive entrance from the 24-year-old, who has scored once in eight first-team appearances.
And Foster is confident there is plenty more still to come from a player who last season struck 18 times for Swindon.
Pompey’s first-team coach said: ‘Michael made a massive impact when he came on against Crawley and he is a handful.
‘He’s fabulous with his back to play and can pin defenders. If you get runners off him his link-up play is really good, not only that but he is clinical in the box.
‘We wanted only 30 minutes into him, he had missed a couple of weeks with a calf injury so it gets him back up to speed. He has come off the bench and impacted on the game.
‘Michael is desperate to play, as were all the players involved in the game. They are desperate to show the manager what they are all about.
‘His time here has been a little bit stop-start for his confidence. He has come to us needing match minutes but the injuries have affected that slightly.
‘He’s still a really good player and going to be really effective for us, we know that. He can have a big say for us.
‘The lad played really, really well yesterday and also has that composure in front of goal which is needed.
‘He is somebody who can impact the end of the season for us in a really positive way.’
Roarie Deacon opened the scoring for Crawley, before Kal Naismith equalised four minutes later.
When Smith entered, he swiftly turned home Ben Tollitt’s right-wing cross to put his team in front.
The striker then turned provider, pulling the ball back from the byline for May to score the hosts’ third and final goal.
Foster added: ‘We should have been comfortably in front during the first 15-20 minutes of the game.
‘We hit the bar three times, which is unfortunate, but at the same time could have been a little bit more clinical.’