BREAKING: News on Portsmouth’s interest in hot striking property as Preston North End linked front man leaves Cambridge United
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Boss John Mousinho is a big fan of one of League One’s most dangerous marksmen, who becomes a free agent as he leaves Cambridge.
The Pompey head coach has been mulling over pursuing a player he is well acquainted with from their time together at Oxford, with the 25-year-old spending the first half of the 2018-19 season at the Kassam Stadium.
Smith’s stock has gone on to soar since that period, with the former Reading trainee smashing in 21 goals in the 2021-22 season at the Abbey Stadium.
That prompted talk of Championship interest from Preston as well as a suggestion Danny Cowley was keen at Pompey last summer, a notion which was shot down by the former boss.
Smith found things harder this term as Cambridge struggled but produced a ferocious finale, delivering seven goals in nine outings, to help the U’s dramatically secure their survival on the final day.
Mousinho is looking for attacking reinforcements this summer, with Smith being an obvious options as one of the best out-of-contract options around at Pompey’s level.
A potential issue, however, would be the notion of the Manchester man coming in and being behind Colby Bishop in the striking pecking order at Fratton Park.
Bishop remains the Blues’ prized asset and has been heavily linked with a move to the Championship.
Pompey are under no pressure to sell the 26-year-old, however, and don’t see anyone putting the kind of deal together to tempt them to do so – for a player who’s settled at PO4.
With a quiet confidence over Bishop staying put, he is certain to be the main man leading the line next term.
And with the Blues likely to lean towards play one out-and-out striker, that would consign Smith to a back-up role behind the £500,000 arrival from Accrington.
In terms of strikers, that position would perhaps be best suited to an exciting emerging talent, rather than an experienced and established operator.
Pompey are looking at bringing in a host of new additions across the pitch this summer, with up to 10 new faces expected to supplement a decent core of contracted players.