Striker Smith ready to step up for Cobblers after Portsmouth loan switch

New Cobblers striker Michael Smith
New Cobblers striker Michael Smith

Striker Michael Smith is confident he can make his mark at the Cobblers after his deadline day loan switch from Sky Bet League Two promotion chasers Portsmouth.

The former Swindon Town man has stepped up a division to join Town’s fight against relegation from league one, but he is unfazed by the challenge and aims to hit the ground running in a claret shirt.

A regular in the Pompey line-up this season, starting in their 1-0 home defeat to Exeter City last weekend, Smith has plenty of experience of both leagues one and two.

He has struggled a little for goals in league two this campaign, scoring three times in 18 appearances, but he enjoyed the best scoring spell of his career in league one with Swindon a couple of years ago, and feels he can hit the ground running.

“I don’t think there is much difference between league one and two,” said the 25-year-old, who has signed on at Sixfields until the end of the season.

“I have played in both, and I can’t see there being a massive difference, but it is going to be good to play against some massive clubs in this league.

I have been playing as a one for the majority of the season down at Portsmouth, and I feel I do play better in a two, and having somebody up there with me

Cobblers striker Michael Smith

“I’ve already looked at the fixtures and we have to play Charlton and a few others, so it’s good.

“I have played the last 12 or 13 games for Portsmouth, so I am ready to start whenever the manager needs me.”

Smith, who stands at an imposing 6ft 4in tall, is set to be involved in the Cobblers squad for Saturday’s trip to Walsall, and he is looking forward to getting the chance to forge a strike partnership with Marc Richards, Keshi Anderson or Alex Revell when he is fit again, having found himself isolated on the south coast.

Pompey’s system under manager Paul Cook sees them play with a lone striker, and Wallsend-born Smith, who began his career at Darlington before signing for Charlton, said: “I like to play down the middle, and I see myself as a bit of a target man who likes to get in the box and try and get on the end of things.

“I have been playing as a one for the majority of the season down at Portsmouth, and I feel I do play better in a two, and having somebody up there with me.

“But for me, just to get out on the pitch playing is a bonus.”

Smith also revealed his move north to Sixfields came as a bit of a surprise to him, saying: “It was a last minute thing. The manager (Cook) pulled me in on the Tuesday, I spoke to him about a couple of things, and Northampton came up.

“I knew it would mean working with Justin Edinburgh, who I have worked with before, so I am glad to be here.”

The Edinburgh link was key to Smith making the switch, as the player enjoyed a successful loan spell under the Cobblers boss when he was in charge at Newport County, scoring four times in nine appearances for the south Wales club.

Smith met up with Edinburgh again for the first time when he trained with his new team-mates on Thursday morning, and said: “I went to Newport when I was about 20, 21, for a couple of months and have good memories of that.

“I have been saying to the lads that he (Edinburgh) doesn’t seem to have changed much, which is a good thing because I thoroughly enjoyed my time with him at Newport with him.”

There was only one familiar face for Smith when he turned up at Moulton College on Thursday, but he was impressed with what he saw in his first session.

“I know Lewin Nyatanga, I spent a bit of time at Barnsley with him, and I recognise a few of the faces from playing against them. They seem like a good set of lads,” said Smith, who was on loan at Oakwell last season.

“I haven’t actually managed to see a lot of Northampton’s results with them being in league one, but having seen them in training it looks like we have a really good group.

“I am sure we can finish much higher up the league than where we are.”

Smith arrives at Northampton having endured a tricky spell with Pompey, where he failed to score in his past eight games.

His most recent goal was back on November 26, and that form has led to him becoming a bit of a target for a section of the Portsmouth support.

Asked if it’s fair to say things have not gone to plan for him at Portsmouth, who signed him from Swindon for an undisclosed fee in the summer, Smith said: “You could say that, but it is just one of those things.

“My job is to score goals and unfortunately it hasn’t gone that way, but I am just dying to get going here.”

COBBLERS boss Justin Edinburgh has further strengthened his backroom staff by appointing Pablo Garcia as the club’s new fitness coach.

The move marks a return to Sixfields for Garcia, who was previously the club’s rehab fitness coach from 2014 to 2016.

“Pablo has been operating in the role for a couple of weeks and I have been impressed with his work,” said Edinburgh.

“I know he played an important role at the club last season.

“He has the respect of the players and I am pleased to bring him back to the club.”