Smudge will be tough to budge for Pompey strikers

Michael Smith scores against Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler

Michael Smith scores against Luton. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Michael Smith’s qualities have been celebrated as the Pompey striker debate gathers pace.

Gareth Evans has talked up the varied attributes Smith offers the Blues following his return to goalscoring form.

The striker grabbed a goal off the bench at Cheltenham on Saturday and continued with a start in the 3-1 win over Luton Town on Tuesday night.

Smith crowned an impressive performance with a superb equaliser from outside the box.

The debate is now building among fans over who will get the nod up front against Stevenage at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Conor Chaplin missed out on Tuesday as he served a one-game ban after picking up five yellow cards.

With Curtis Main struggling with an abdominal strain, Noel Hunt is the other striker in contention for a start.

Evans feels Smith brings other things to the table compared to his team-mates.

He said: ‘He offers something different. If you are under the cosh and need someone to hit, he can do that.

‘He can also run the channels, he’s fit and he’s no slouch.

‘He offers something different to Chappers who predominantly offers more running in behind than holding it up.

‘We’ve also got Mainy coming back from injury and Noel who’s shown his qualities.

‘They all offer something different and it’s nice variation to have. I’ve played with (Jonny) Mullins at Rotherham. He’s a good player, so for Smudge to almost bully him like he did shows how well he played.’

Smith is now finding momentum in his Pompey career after enduring some difficult periods.

Evans is pleased to see the former Swindon man come through a testing time and show the quality he has to offer.

He said: ‘He started the season and, by his own admission, didn’t play as well as he could. But we all go through stages like that.

‘To see him full of confidence like that and renewed positivity and energy is brilliant.

‘He’s shown his quality against Luton and when he came on at Cheltenham.

‘Long may it continue, because if we’ve got a goalscoring Michael Smith that’s all the better for Portsmouth.

‘He’s on hot form, showing it and will be hard to shift.’