Kal Naismith adjusting to new Pompey demands

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Paul Cook’s top-six Pompey games

  • Naismith made 79 appearances and scored 14 goals during two seasons at Accrington
  • Winger has played in three of Pompey’s four pre-season games so far
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For Kal Naismith, the encouraging signs are there as he bids to adapt.

A new club, new surroundings, but more importantly a new playing system to become accustomed to.

For me, that was the most pleasing fact on Tuesday night, I am starting to understand it more and it has started to come naturally

Kal Naismith

The 23-year-old has never before consistently featured in the 4-2-3-1 formation favoured by Paul Cook.

A player who can operate on either wing and on occasions at Accrington performed up front, Naismith has been asked to serve as one of the Blues’ three attacking midfielders.

It is a task he believes he is gradually adjusting to during Pompey’s pre-season, with a 2-1 victory over Coventry City the most recent outing.

Cook’s men next head to Woking tonight (7.30pm) for their latest friendly as the August 8 Football League kick-off looms.

And the Scotsman is adamant he is learning how to be effective in Cook’s system with every match played.

Naismith said: ‘I don’t remember playing in this formation before, I haven’t played it consistently anyway.

‘At Accrington I operated a lot on the right of a 4-4-2 in my first season.

‘Although there were some games I started up front against bigger sides, such as against Portsmouth once, Chesterfield in the first season, and also at Plymouth.

‘It is probably the first time I have consistently played in this system, though, it’s good, I like it.

‘It takes a little bit of learning positional-wise off the ball, but the gaffer and Leam are helping us with it, telling me where I should be.

‘For me, that was the most pleasing fact on Tuesday night, I am starting to understand it more and it has started to come naturally.

‘I wasn’t over-thinking what I was doing.

‘It has not really been too difficult, we are all footballers and at the end of the day you go out and give your all, that’s standard, that’s what you need to do.

‘As part of that three we can change positions. If someone is pressing or taking a set piece you just make sure you fall back in.

‘The most important thing is that everyone is back in that position in the right shape.

‘So if that means me filling in on the right, Gaz Evans filling in on the left or Conor (Chaplin) going out to the left and Gaz coming centrally, it has to be done to get the team shape.

‘And I’m pleased with how it is going.’

Pompey have won two and drawn two of their four pre-season fixtures so far.

The clash with the Sky Blues at Westleigh Park on Tuesday was their most impressive all-round display yet, yielding a win in the process.

Naismith featured for 89 minutes of that fixture, while rivals Adam McGurk and Gary Roberts watched from the stands.

And he’s relishing tonight’s match.

He added: ‘The games are what everyone looks forward to most. Training is good but all footballers love doing is playing games.

‘Hopefully we will go and get another win tonight and see more proof that things coming together, just like they did on Tuesday night.’

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