Bognor spell has helped prepare Smith to make Pompey impression
Ever-adaptable Bognor loan star Dan Smith is targeting making an attacking impact on Pompey’s first team.
And he hopes that will be in the centre-forward role which has reaped 13 goals during a highly-productive spell at the Rocks.
It's not bad from the 19-year-old converted into a striker 12 months ago – and this month handed his Blues bow at right-back.
Smith’s versatility will once more be evident in tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy visit of Peterborough to Fratton Park (7pm).
Formerly a holding midfielder with the Academy, on this occasion he is earmarked to feature in an attacking role. The quarter-final encounter represents a second outing after debuting in the previous round’s 2-0 win at Southend. Only this time he’s hoping to impress considerably further forward than right-back.
Smith said: "It is probably a year since I’ve played up front, before then I was playing CDM (central defensive midfield). We played 4-2-3-1 in the Academy and I was one of the holding two. Last year I scored six penalties before netting from open play. I finished with 17 goals, which isn’t bad considering I played most of it as a CDM.
"It was after an FA Youth Cup match against Leicester City that my position changed. I was playing as a wide midfielder at that time because I wanted to play further forward as I see myself as a goalscorer.
"Then the gaffer told me he viewed me as a striker after I won a lot of headers against a 6ft 5in lad! ‘I thought I would try it – and it went really well. This year has been about learning positions and playing with back to goal, it is so strange for me. It will be nice to prove what I can do up front, which is where I see myself."
Associated with Pompey since under-nine level, Smith hails from Bursledon and attended schools in Warsash and Hamble. A Pompey fan, he is grateful to how others have aided his development.
He added: "Bognor and Robbie Blake have really helped me, as did Conor Chaplin in pre-season when he was here. It has been a really big learning curve. It’s different to any other position because you rely on service, but when it comes you have to deliver. I definitely think I’m improving."Smith was a second-half substitute in Bognor's 2-2 draw with Potters Bar on Saturday.