Kenny Jackett praised ‘terrific professional’ Michael Smith ahead of the striker’s Fratton Park return.
The former Blues player is expected to lead Bury’s attack in tomorrow’s League One encounter.
Sometimes, as a new manager, you need to freshen up some positions and I wanted to be able to bring in Hawkins and PitmanKenny Jackett
Smith departed Pompey on transfer deadline day by mutual consent after failing to feature in new boss Jackett’s plans.
The 26-year-old made 37 appearances and scored 10 goals during two spells at the club, yet didn’t convince a section of the Fratton faithful of his worth.
And irrespective of driving the forward’s departure, Jackett respects his one-time player.
The Blues boss said: ‘Michael is a terrific lad and a terrific professional.
‘When he left we wished him all the best and thanked him for what he has done for Portsmouth. He is a first-class, professional lad.
‘When I arrived he was just coming off the back of an injury and for me to bring in Pitman and bring in Hawkins room had to be made and we needed to move him on.
‘Sometimes, as a new manager, you need to freshen up some positions and I wanted to be able to bring in Hawkins and Pitman at that particular time.
‘I am thankful for the club in backing me on those things – and it meant Michael had to look elsewhere to find his football when fit.
‘We wish him the best, although obviously not tomorrow, but I have nothing but good things to say on his professionalism and personality.’
Smith has scored twice since joining Bury on a two-year deal.
Having been made to train away from the first-team at Pompey, the move represented a precious opportunity.
Jackett added: ‘There is sometimes quite a bit made of when they train away from the squad, particularly early season.
‘You need to work at the team, you need to work at your pattern of play, it comes down to 11 v 11 and you generally train with 22.
‘Training has to be game-related, it has to be. If it’s too loose and not game-related then players don’t learn anything.
‘At the start of this particular year there were 25 players and you have to leave three out of that – you can’t suddenly make up a 12-a-side or 13-a-side, that is not the game we play.
‘When players say “I wasn’t training with the group”, I do scratch my head and question it a bit. You have to create the dynamics of a football pitch and the people on it.’