League One boss admits Portsmouth-linked striker could leave this summer amid MK Dons and Wycombe Wanderers interest

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Cambridge boss Mark Bonner has admitted Sam Smith could move on this summer after being linked with Pompey.

Bonner feels his club will be continuing a policy of developing talent and selling them for a profit, if the 21-goal marksman from last season move on.

Danny Cowley has expressed his admiration for the 24-year-old, but the understanding is he’s not actively looking to pursue a deal for the striker who’s also been linked with the likes MK Dons and Wycombe.

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He told Cambridgeshire Live: ‘We know the situation, we’ve had to deal with that every year of the last two, that our players have performed brilliantly.

‘In that sense, you always get speculation around all of your players, whether that is on social media, written media, online or just by word of mouth.

‘I think we are getting quite comfortable with the fact that we’ve got really good players that people are always talking about. That’s a great sign of the progress that we’ve made.

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‘Right now, there are no real specifics to talk about on any of the players, and unless something weird and wonderful comes up that is too good to turn down, we expect to start the season with the whole squad intact.

Sam Smith has been linked with Pompey. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty ImagesSam Smith has been linked with Pompey. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Sam Smith has been linked with Pompey. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images

‘If someone offers huge money for one of your players, the reality is yeah, maybe you’d move them on.

‘As a club like ours, that is the model. You sign players, you develop them, you hope that they get better and you hope that you sell them. That is the model that we want to see play out a number of times. That’s how we’re going to build a football club that is sustaining itself at the best level that we can.

‘If that becomes a reputation that we become a club that constantly signs, improves players, creates a successful team, and then generates interest and funds as a business by creating assets and selling them, sometimes that doesn’t sound too sexy to football supporters, but as a business and a club that can build itself for the long term, that’s a brilliant reputation to try and get.

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‘We’d be quite comfortable with having that as a model going forwards.’

Pompey are looking to employ a model which sees them develop young talent and move them on for a profit in the way Cambridge have in recent seasons.

They have recently benefitted from a sell-on clause as Harry Darling joined Championship Swansea a year on from moving to MK Dons from the Abbey Stadium.

Bonner added: ‘We’ve seen it with Harry Darling last season, he moved on at a time when we were going really well, but that’s been a brilliant transfer for our club, and will continue to be in the future.

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‘It’s a really good model as a club to try and adopt, so it’s certainly not something that we’d ever say is a shut down, it’s something that we see as a real plus.

‘Who knows what will happen in the future, but I think you can see often in the recruits that we bring in, we sign players that have got plenty of potential, and our job is to make them better and try and help them fulfil their ambitions as well as them help us fulfil ours.’

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