Pompey boss delights in striker response

Michael Smith is congratulated after scoring against Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith is congratulated after scoring against Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey entertain FC Utrecht on Saturday, July 28

Pompey assistant excited to face FC Utrecht

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Paul Cook felt vindicated after his decision to name Michael Smith against Luton Town paid magnificent dividends.

The striker, often under-fire from Pompey supporters, netted an 11th-minute equaliser with a sublime finish from outside the box.

It marked his second goal in as many games, having come off the bench to earn a point at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The 25-year-old went on to produce a man-of-the-match display in the Blues’ outstanding 3-1 Kenilworth Road victory.

Smith continues to try to win over fans following a difficult time since his summer move from Swindon Town.

And Cook was pleased with his striker’s response having been named as suspended Conor Chaplin’s replacement last night.

He said: ‘I am delighted for Michael.

‘He’s had such a stop-start time this season.

‘I always back my players, I never turn on them.

‘I thought it was right to put him in for this match and that was even before Conor got his ban.

‘I am pleased with Michael, the goal was okay, it crawled into the net! Only joking.

‘He played in games at the start of the season where teams just didn’t come out of their half and I would beggar anyone to score goals in those situations.

‘Last night we played against a very good Luton team and did our best to win the game.

‘And Michael, like all the players, did very well.’

Smith now has five goals this season, with three of them coming against Yeovil in the Checkatrade Trophy.

That is the same amount as Chaplin, sat in the stands at Kenilworth Road last night, who is now available for Saturday’s visit of Stevenage.