Pompey boss reveals late charge for Smith

Michael Smith has joined Northampton on loan Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Smith has joined Northampton on loan Picture: Joe Pepler

POMPEY were hit with a deadline-day stampede for Michael Smith’s services.

Paul Cook has told how the Blues received interest from a host of clubs for the striker as the transfer window closed.

Smith departed on loan for Northampton for the rest of the season on Tuesday.

That was after Eoin Doyle completed his arrival from Preston for the rest of the campaign.

It was only after Doyle’s capture had been sealed when Pompey spoke to Smith about his future.

Cook explained to the 25-year-old he would find playing time hard to come by and sit behind Doyle in the pecking order.

That led to the Blues publicising the Geordie’s availability – and there were soon a number of takers for him.

That included permanent offers after an agreement had been reached with the Cobblers.

Smith has found himself on the receiving end of flak from sections of support.

Cook has little doubt that saw his confidence eroded.

He said: ‘With Michael we put a circular out in the afternoon – by 6pm we’d agreed a deal with Northampton.

‘After that there were bids of good money turned down for him. There was a lot of interest.

‘We have to be careful.

‘There are players who are good players who end up looking like they’ve never played football.

‘That’s the saddest thing about it.

‘It was sad (with Smith) because in the end he wanted the perfect scenario (to shoot).

‘Pompey is a massive club, no doubt about that, but that negativity has to end.’

Cook feels there are lessons to be learnt from what has happened to Smith at Pompey.

And the turnover of players at Fratton Park in recent years offers another salutary lesson moving forward. Cook underlined a positive environment is the best one to allow players to make their mark.

He said: ‘If you look at the turnover of players, at what point is enough enough?’

‘It’s sad as a club because you can’t keep doing it year after year, month after month.

‘In the end you aren’t even addressing your own problems.

‘You will just see more players go in and out.

‘Where are the next set of players coming from? You’ll end up re-signing players.

‘The positivity has to come from somewhere.’