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Matt Smith to go on loan?

last updated Wednesday 10th February 2016, 9:31 AM

Fulham Football Club

Fulham striker Matt Smith
Fulham striker
Matt Smith
Matt Smith
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Despite suggestions to the contrary, Bristol City's interest in Fulham striker Matt Smith is cooling.

The reopening of the window for emergency loan signings for Football League clubs has sparked renewed rumours linking Championship strugglers City with a move for Smith, the striker who scored 13 goals in 23 appearances in a three-month spell at Ashton Gate last season.

But the Bristol Post understands City's requirements have changed since Lee Johnson was appointed head coach last weekend. As a consequence, a return to BS3 for 27-year-old Smith now appears unlikely.

Even though Smith excelled under Johnson's management at Oldham Athletic three seasons ago and played a key role in keeping the Latics in League One, his style of play does not appear to fit in with the direction in which the new head coach wants to take City.

Johnson commenced his new role on Monday and is keen to assess the players currently at his disposal before making any firm decisions on loan signings.

He is understood to be considering a move for a forward, while the recruitment of another midfield player could also be on the cards should Ben Gladwin's knee injury keep him on the side-lines for any length of time.

His predecessor, Steve Cotterill, targeted Smith last summer, while interim manager John Pemberton renewed City's interest in January. But when it became clear Fulham were not prepared to sell, the Robins moved onto other targets, including Walsall striker Tom Bradshaw.

Given that Fulham managed to keep hold of in-demand first-choice strikers Moussa Dembele and Ross McCormack despite interest from Tottenham and Middlesbrough respectively, Smith's situation may well have changed and he could be allowed to leave Craven Cottage on loan this month.

But even were Fulham prepared to loan a player to a relegation rival, Smith would hardly meet Johnson's requirement for a quick striker.

City have until March 24 to add to their squad, but no new arrivals are anticipated ahead of Saturday's visit of Championship play-off contenders Ipswich Town.

Source A Stockhausen at Bristol Post
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