Blues keeper Smith delighted to show his quality

Phil Smith makes a flying save. Picture: Joe Pepler
Phil Smith makes a flying save. Picture: Joe Pepler

Phil Smith upped the ante in the Pompey goalkeeping race and vowed: I’m not finished yet.

Smith made his first start in 16 months in the Blues’ 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat to Championship outfit Bournemouth last night.

And the 33-year-old pulled off a string of impressive stops in an eye-catching display at Dean Court.

After being left in the football wilderness following his release from Swindon over a year ago, Smith was pleased to return with a sound showing.

That was a confidence booster for the Londoner as he showed his manager and fans what he is capable of.

Smith’s display now gives Guy Whittingham an intriguing selection poser ahead of Saturday’s trip to Accrington.

Whittingham has to decide whether to continue with the former Crawley man or go with John Sullivan as Pompey return to league action at the Crown Ground,

Smith said: ‘It’s nice to have a game and a decent game.

‘I was pleased to make a few saves but there is plenty to work on.

‘It’s nice for me to show myself, the manager and the fans that I can still do it and I’m not finished yet!

‘I’ve played a few friendly games but to get competitive games is pleasing.

‘Selfishly, I’m over the moon to get a game but disappointed about the result.

‘My own performance was alright.

‘Some things were a bit sloppy but overall I was pretty happy with my performance.

‘After being out for so long I was pretty pleased with my display.

‘The manager chose to play John at the weekend, and he deserves to play.

‘But for me, I needed to say I can still play and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got – and if I get a chance I want to take it.

‘I just want to keep going, working hard and take every chance I get. Then it’s up to the manager.

‘It’s great to be out there again and I feel blessed to be associated with a club like this and playing in front of fans like that.

‘And it’s nice to know that I can still do it.’

Pompey could take heart from their defensive display against Eddie Howe’s side.

It took until the 53rd minute for the resistance to be punctured by Eunan O’Kane’s goal.

Smith believes Pompey can now push on.

He said: ‘They are a good team and their passing at times was brilliant.

‘You can see them doing well in the Championship, so for us to defend well was good after Saturday.

‘We had to enjoy the challenge of defending and enjoy keeping them out.

‘We threw bodies in front of the ball and it is that kind of defending which will keep clean sheets.

‘I think we showed we can defend and we can take that forward.

‘The scoreline was disappointing but there was a progression from Saturday.’