Why Portsmouth striker jetted in from Ireland for reserve-team duty

Dan Smith was flown in from Ireland for a Pompey reserve-team run-out.

Thursday, 11th April 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th April 2019, 6:56 pm
Dan Smith jetted in from Ireland to represent Pompey reserves against Fulham on Tuesday. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Jake Wigley believes the whistle-stop trip has benefited the youngster.

Smith was summoned from his loan spell at Cork City to feature in Tuesday’s Blues friendly against Fulham.

The versatile player subsequently completed the full 90 minutes as Wigley’s side won 1-0, through Louis Dennis’ second-half goal.

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Since moving on loan to the League of Ireland Premier Division side in mid-February, the Academy product has made seven appearances, scoring once.

However, only three of Smith’s outings have been starts, prompting the Blues to seek more match minutes via the reserves.

And having returned to Cork on Wednesday following his Motspur Park outing, the attacker is now in the frame for Friday night’s match against St Patrick’s Athletic.

First-team coach Wigley said: ‘Dan came back, it was good for him.

‘He has been over in Ireland and probably not played as much as he wanted to, despite really enjoying the experience.

‘So we thought we’d get him back and get a good 90 minutes under his belt. He looked strong and fit.

‘It was our decision to call him back, we spoke to their manager and thought it would be good to get 90 minutes into him, so he flew here on Monday and returned Wednesday,

‘Dan’s been in and out of Cork’s team, he has not held a regular spot as such but started a couple of games and has been getting on.

‘Against Fulham he played on the right of the three and looked strong, winning a lot of headers, and the experience of Ireland is doing him good.’

Pompey have another reserve friendly at Bournemouth on Tuesday (1pm).

The late-season fixtures are seen as crucial in preparing fringe players for potential first-team duty during the promotion run-in.

Wigley added: ‘It’s going to be an important run-in.

‘For those squad players on the fringe, should they go into the first-team and play 90 minutes it might not be a struggle – but could be a bit of a shock to the body.

‘Games like these ensure if the fringe players do get asked to play in the first-team and step up, then they are ready and raring to go.’