Pompey are hoping another strong friendly outing can clinch a loan arrangement for Dan Smith.
The 18-year-old has spent pre-season involved with Kenny Jackett’s squad, alongside fellow first-year professional Matt Casey.
Regarded by the Blues’ management as a centre-forward, Smith appeared as a scheduled half-time substitute in friendlies against Cork City and the Hawks.
Yet it was while serving with the youthful Pompey team which defeated Moneyfields 3-0 last Tuesday when he has really caught the eye so far this summer.
Smith bagged a hat-trick for essentially a Blues Academy line-up, in front of watching boss Jackett.
Having been unused from the bench in Saturday’s defeat at Stevenage, the youngster is set to be handed a Pompey XI start at Gosport tomorrow night (7.30pm).
And Jackett has earmarked him for a loan spell this season to aid his development.
Pompey’s boss said: ‘Dan is strong physically, strong mentally and can get a goal.
‘Looking at him the other night (Moneyfields), there are aspects of his game he needs to work on.
‘I do think wherever he goes this year in terms of a loan – and he does need a loan – he will do well for them.
‘There's a really good attitude, he's strong and if he plays up the middle goals generally follow. Whoever does take him will be getting a good player.
‘Dan seems to have quite good respect among the other pros, which is always a good sign with some young players, you need the respect of your peers.
‘He is stronger than last year and by the time reaches his early 20s will be very powerful. We certainly think a loan for him will be the best thing this season.’
Smith occupied a wide role after appearing from the bench in the 4-1 friendly victory over Cork.
Yet he had to serve at right-back during the second half of the fixture at the Hawks, with the Academy’s Joe Dandy sidelined by a groin strain.
Smith, though, demonstrated his attacking intent from full-back as the Blues won 2-1, through Conor Chaplin’s late goal.
Jackett added: ‘I would say his best position is centre-forward.
‘Dan can also play in a wide area. I don’t think that is necessarily his best role, but some centre-forwards when you play a 4-3-3 they do go wide right or wide left and he has played there.
‘Watching him at Moneyfields, though, I think he is a centre-forward and he can score goals.’
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