Striker delighted to complete permanent switch
It was not so much cries of ‘welcome to Pompey’ that greeted Michael Smith, but rather ‘welcome back’.
The striker scored four times in 16 appearances while on loan from Swindon last term and has now penned a permanent deal.
And the 24-year-old – who grew stronger as his spell at Fratton Park progressed – is glad to be back with the Blues.
He said: “After my last appearance at Hartlepool I knew the gaffer was going to try to get something sorted.
“That was the day we learnt we would be meeting Plymouth in the play-offs and it was so frustrating knowing I couldn’t be a part of that.
“I just love playing football so it was very difficult to watch the games and so disappointing that the lads couldn’t quite get over the line.
“But Pompey was always going to be the option for me and I’m delighted that the deal has been sorted."
Smith made his Blues bow in a draw at Morecambe back in February, while his Fratton debut came against Leyton Orient four days later.
His form improved as his loan spell progressed, with goals arriving against Bristol Rovers, Carlisle, Plymouth and AFC Wimbledon.
“I did have a slow start to my time here,” Smith explained, “but got stronger with more games and it’s great that I will now get a full pre-season under my belt and be able to hit the ground running.
“Last season I thought the lads were good enough to go up, but with the additions we’ve made this year, I believe we can make that push to get out of this league.
“I’m not someone who sets targets for myself because I don’t think it’s beneficial, but I always do my very best to score goals.”
Smith has had plenty of loan spells in his career, spending time with Workington, Accrington, Newport, Colchester, AFC Wimbledon and Barnsley.
“You can find yourself slightly detached,” he said. “But last season at Pompey, I always felt like one of the lads.
“Coming down from League One wasn’t really a consideration for me because there isn’t much between the two divisions.
“Everyone knows the stature of Pompey and the crowds that this club can command on a regular basis.
“It really is a crime that we still find ourselves in this league, but hopefully this will be the year that we start moving upwards.”
Watch what Smith had to say about his Pompey switch below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for the full interview.