Naismith: I'm ready and waiting for Pompey

KAL NAISMITH told Paul Cook: I'm ready and waiting.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:58 am
Kal Naismith celebrates with Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler

The attacking talent fired a reminder of his quality to his manager in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Morecambe.

Naismith unleashed a 25-yard strike to join Conor Chaplin and Gary Roberts at the top of the Pompey goal charts.

The 25-year-old’s eighth goal of the campaign has arrived from just 13 starts and 16 outings off the bench.

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Naismith has been forced to settle for six games on the bench since a flurry of three starts in January.

The former Rangers man made a favourable impression in those games, but understands there’s strong competition around Cook’s squad.

Naismith is champing at the bit, however, to play a significant role in the promotion bid over the final 13 matches.

He said: ‘I want to contribute as much as I can.

‘You can’t do that from sitting on the bench.

‘I was in for a bit, scored a few goals and did well.

‘But if you look at the competition, it’s rife here and there are very good players at the club.

‘The other players are playing right now and there’s nothing you can do but back them.

‘We’ve got a good squad and players. It’s their turn now.

‘I’m just working with the squad and we’re all on the same page trying to get results.

‘If it’s my turn next great. I just need to keep myself ready.

‘Whenever I’m called upon I just need to play as big a part as I can.

‘Our fitness levels are great and we have a great squad of talent.

‘If that needs to be used with the games coming up, we need to try do as well as we can when called upon.’

After mulling over a change to 3-5-2 against Morecambe on Tuesday, Cook opted to stick with his preferred 4-2-3-1 approach.

That followed a late switch to wing-backs coinciding with three goals in the final 17 minutes at Carlisle.

Naismith knows the Pompey squad have got to have the adaptability to change over the season’s finale.

But he also feels the players know how to work in the framework of Cook’s preferential formation best.

Naismith said: ‘I think the 4-2-3-1 has worked well in the last couple of games.

‘The boys have been playing well and the forward players have been good, it’s just not been happening in terms of goals for them. That’ll come.

‘We’ve changed the formation at times. I guess that’s what the gaffer gets paid for.

‘Maybe there’s times when it needs to be tinkered with during the game.

‘That’s his job and the lads are drilled on that when it changes and know exactly what to do. We’re all on the same page.

‘We work on everything, but we work on 4-2-3-1 most.

‘That’s what we’ve played most and maybe that suits our players most.

‘Doyler’s (Eoin Doyle) unselfish and makes a lot of runs and movements to free up space for the three behind.

‘The past couple of games that three has been electric. They’ve been very good.’