Portsmouth warned: Beware of Michael Smith on his Rotherham return

Pompey have been warned they must nullify the striking threat of Michael Smith.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 3:02 pm
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 6:00 pm

That’s the message from Ryan Williams as his former team-mate limbers up for a Fratton Park return with Rotherham tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Smith’s time on the south coast developed into an unhappy stay, scoring 10 goals in 37 games and becoming a target for supporter criticism.

He was also shown the door by Kenny Jackett in August 2017, early in the Blues boss’ reign.

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Former Pompey striker Michael Smith has resurrected his career with Rotherham

However, following a brief unsuccessful spell at Bury, Smith resurrected his career at Rotherham, where he played alongside Williams for one-and-a-half seasons.

And the towering striker continues to be a devastating presence for Paul Warne’s side.

Williams said: ‘I’ve heard from people down here that Smudger didn’t really play too well during his time at Pompey.

‘He has been great at Rotherham, though.

‘He will run all day, has a great first touch, is good at finishing, works hard for the team, he’s great to play with and is a goalscorer. For whatever reason, it didn’t work for him here.

‘At Rotherham, we had Kieffer Moore leaving for Barnsley so needed quite a big boost – and Smudger came in and did a great job.

‘Kieffer was a better goalscorer, but Smudger was better for the team and helped us get promotion to the Championship.

‘He was a bit more selfless, although both do similar jobs in terms of winning the ball up the pitch, closing down defenders, running down the sides and getting into the box.

‘I think he will be a threat against us tomorrow night, he will definitely play, Warnie loves him. For good reason too.

‘We’ve got to make sure we keep him quiet. Hopefully the fans can also get on his back and put him under pressure!’

Smith has scored 18 times in 91 appearances for the Millers and started Saturday's 3-2 success at MK Dons.

Willaims added: ‘Smudger is a Championship player.

‘It was hard last season from an attacking point of view, we were defending for quite a lot of that campaign, so it was hard for him to get goals.

‘He did well, though, and hopefully will get another chance at that level.’