Naismith praises pre-season best

Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pompey have won two and drawn two of their pre-season fixtures
  • Blues scheduled to play Woking and Gillingham before League Two campaign starts
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Kal Naismith saluted a Pompey pre-season best following victory over Coventry City.

Paul Cook’s side last night recorded a second successive friendly triumph with a 2-1 win over their League One opponents.

Held at Westleigh Park, first-half goals from Conor Chaplin and Gareth Evans put the Blues in firm control.

A stunning piece of skill from George Thomas on 53 minutes reduced the arrears – but Pompey deservedly picked up the victory.

It was an impressive all-round display from Cook’s men, who had previously only played well in patches during their pre-season schedule.

And Naismith, who featured for 89 minutes, was delighted with the level of the Pompey display.

Leam Richardson always says to us “Never change, never change what you are doing if a team scores, you stay the same, you don’t start dropping off,” and I think we responded well to their goal

Kal Naismith

The winger said: ‘That was our best game yet, definitely.

‘We won at Gosport with a last-minute goal but last night I felt we were in charge of the game from the start.

‘Having gone 2-0 up, the boy (Thomas) has pulled it out of the sky and scored that incredible goal so hats off to him, you can’t do anything about that.

‘But Leam (Richardson) always says to us “never change, never change what you are doing if a team scores, you stay the same, you don’t start dropping off” and I think we responded well to their goal.

‘Pokey (Michael Poke) made a great save at the end but apart from that I thought we saw the game out comfortably.

‘I know it is a friendly but it is still good to win. Coventry are a good side who had their strongest team out, I believe.

‘All you can do is work 100 per cent and I thought every player did that and that is the most pleasing fact for everyone.’

It was a fourth pre-season match under Cook – taking his tally to two wins and two draws.

The Westleigh Park fixture saw 22 players used by Pompey, including new triallists Matt Clarke and Frank van der Struijk.

Pompey will now seek to secure 18-year-old Clarke on a loan from Ipswich Town.

Despite the many new faces on show this summer, however, Naismith believes the much-changed squad are beginning to click.

He added: ‘Partnerships and things have started to come together, while I know the boys on the pitch were also running themselves into the ground and took fitness from it.

‘There’s loads of new players.

‘The gaffer has mentioned new boys and old boys but it is now just one team.

‘We are coming in every day and listening to what the gaffer has to say and buying into it, trying as hard as we can to get it right for the first game of the season.

‘As footballers, the main thing is winning matches but to play in a nice way as well would be great.’

Pompey travel to Woking on Friday (7.30pm) for their next pre-season match.