Kal Naismith can have Pompey future at left-back

Kal Naismith has been told he may yet have a Pompey future '“ as a left-back.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 6:01 am
Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler

The 24-year-old was transfer-listed at the culmination of last season and instructed to train with the Blues’ youngsters this summer.

Yet he was a surprise presence on Paul Cook’s bench for Saturday’s trip to Bristol City.

He also lined up in Monday’s behind-closed-doors fixture with a Liverpool Foundation team.

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Following the broken collarbone sustained by Brandon Haunstrup during pre-season, Cook has been looking at alternative left-back cover for Enda Stevens.

That has prompted a return from the cold for Naismith, who primarily is a winger.

And first-team coach Ian Foster believes the out-of-favour Scot has every chance of reversing his Fratton Park fortunes in a different role.

He said: ‘Kal has been made available for transfer but until he leaves the building remains our player.

‘You never know what can happen in football, though.

‘Brandon Haunstrup has dislocated his shoulder and the likelihood is he will be out for six to eight weeks.

‘So it has given Kal the opportunity to fill in at left-back.

‘It gives us balance in the squad. He has that lovely left-foot, has energy and is brave as well.

‘Football can open up opportunities when you least expect it but importantly for Kal he has got his head down, worked hard and stuck at it, that is why he is back in with the group. Until the day comes he leaves the football club we will use him where we see necessary.’

Naismith made 22 appearances and scored three times during his maiden season on the south coast.

Recruited on a three-year deal from Accrington for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2015, he endured a fitful campaign.

There was also a loan spell at Hartlepool as the former Rangers man sought regular first-team action.

In terms of his 10 Pompey starts, Naismith served on the right or left of the attacking three in Cook’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system.

The Blues boss believes he has this summer upgraded in those departments following the arrivals of Carl Baker and Milan Lalkovic.

Yet Naismith is now considered as left-back material.

He appeared as an 87th-minute substitute for Stevens in the goalless draw at Ashton Gate, while there was a full run-out against Liverpool Foundation, capped by a late goal.

And Foster insists the fit can be comfortable.

He added: ‘When Kal arrived at the club we had already seen him play left-back before.

‘It’s a position which is not alien to him. He can play there and has the energy to get forward from that area.

‘He has played as a left-back, a wing-back and a wing forward so is certainly capable of doing it.’