Pompey striker up and running after treadmill setback

Pompey striker Michael Smith Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Michael Smith Picture: Joe Pepler
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Michael Smith’s desire to hit the ground running for his maiden Pompey pre-season resulted in being condemned to two weeks on the sidelines.

Now the summer recruit is back in action and, crucially, among the goals.

It is just one of those things, the treadmill is quite a hard surface and you tend to get little knocks

Michael Smith

But he will definitely be leaving the treadmill well behind.

The 24-year-old last month completed a Fratton Park switch from Swindon for an undisclosed fee.

It followed a successful loan spell, with a return of four goals in 16 matches accompanied by some impressive individual displays.

In anticipation of his new life on the south coast, Smith hit the gym in his native Newcastle ahead of the pre-season return.

Admirable commitment – yet it resulted in the striker missing four friendlies and a week in Ireland.

He said: ‘I’m getting there now after missing four games with a calf injury I picked up trying to get fit back home.

‘After I signed I wanted to tick over during the summer to make sure I was ready for pre-season training.

‘I was using the treadmill at the gym and after one session came off and my calf felt a little bit tight.

‘I didn’t realise the extent of it until I came back to Portsmouth. The first day was running and the next training, then I realised I had to see the physio.

‘I was diagnosed with a grade one tear in my calf.

‘It is just one of those things, the treadmill is quite a hard surface and you tend to get little knocks.

‘Not only was it disappointing being unable to play but was tough missing out on the tour to Ireland.

‘That trip was more about team bonding than anything else so I was gutted to miss out, but while the lads were over there I was here training hard.

‘I was just trying to keep fit while away from the club, but I’ve learnt my lesson now!’

Smith missed the first four matches of Pompey’s pre-season, fixtures against Sligo, Bohemians, the Hawks and Sutton United.

Since then he has amassed 134 first-team minutes as he continues to feel his way back to action.

During those two-and-a-half matches, he has netted against Bournemouth and also in Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory at Bognor.

The latter was as a second-half substitute for Curtis Main, who himself got on the scoresheet at Nyewood Lane, along with Conor Chaplin and Adam May.

Pompey tomorrow head to Bristol City for their eighth and final summer friendly as the League Two kick-off looms ever near.

Smith is likely to be an automatic start in Cook’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system, providing he is free from injury,

And the ex-Charlton man believes he nearing optimum fitness ahead of that August 6 start.

He added: ‘I feel okay. It was tough on Saturday against Bournemouth with the way they keep the ball and the weather, but I feel I am getting there.

‘It’s all about match fitness, you can do what you want in training but you need games. I’m getting them now and another 28 minutes at Bognor has got me sharper.’