There has been a little less ‘banter’ flying the way of striker Michael Smith in Cobblers training this week - and that is a huge relief for the Portsmouth loan man.
The 25-year-old admits that he had been the butt of a few friendly barbs ahead of last weekend’s win over Charlton due to his lack of goals for the Cobblers, but his brilliant header against the Addicks has put paid to that.
You start getting a bit of banter off the lads, especially with the chances you have missed, but just to get that one out of the way is a really good feeling. I would have taken a goal off my backside as long as the ball had ended up in the back of the netCobblers striker Michael Smith
A football dressing room can be an unforgiving place when it comes to mickey-taking, and Smith admits he was glad to get off the mark in claret and white. “It was a relief, as it has been a long time coming,” said Smith, who had failed to hit the target in his first six appearances for the club.
“I have managed to get myself in some good goalscoring positions and not managed to score, but thankfully it went in on Saturday.
“There is always that things as a striker, to get that first goal for your new club.
“So, especially after the chances I have missed, I was just happy to get it.
“You start getting a bit of banter off the lads, especially with the chances you have missed, but just to get that one out of the way is a really good feeling.
“I would have taken a goal off my backside as long as the ball had ended up in the back of the net, but it helped the lads to get the three points and I am chuffed.”
Smith’s goal was one that any centre forward at any level would be proud of, powerfully heading into the top corner following right-back Aaron Phillips’ brilliant outswinging cross, and the front man was quick to pay tribute to his team-mate, who was making his first appearance since January 2.
“On Saturday I thought that, to a man, everybody was exceptional, but especially Aaron,” said Smith.
“I thought his ball in for the first goal was unbelievable, but he worked tirelessly all game.
“He was involved in the second goal as well, and for him to come in and do that having not played for so long, he did really well.”
Smith will be hoping both he and the Cobblers can maintain their form when they travel to a club he knows well this Saturday.
The Wallsend-born striker enjoyed a productive loan spell at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in the 2013/14 season, scoring 10 goals in 25 appearances, and he is relishing returning to south west London.
“I spent six months on loan there three or four years ago, so I know all of the staff there and a few of the boys, and I am looking forward to it,” said Smith.
“All of the staff are still the same from when I was there, and I can’t speak highly enough of (manager) Neal Ardley.
“I thoroughly enjoyed playing there, so I know it will be a tough game.
“They have Lyle Taylor, who scored a lot of goals in league two last season, and they have a lot of other attacking options as well, so it will be a real test.”