KAL NAISMITH has been told: Your chance will come.
Kenny Jackett believes the talisman of Pompey’s title-winning success still has a big part to play this term.
And the manager has praised Naismith’s attitude as he tries to find a way into his first XI, after starting just two league games this season.
The forward has found playing time hard to come by and gone eight League One games without a start going into today’s meeting with MK Dons.
It’s a far cry from last term for the 25-year-old, when he finished as top scorer – including seven goals in nine as the Blues stormed to the title.
But Jackett has made it clear there will be a chance for the Scottish talent moving forward.
He said: ‘We don’t lack options in the forward areas. I’m looking at Naismith and he hasn’t had a game for a little while.
‘He played early season at Oxford and had some minutes.
‘He hasn’t had many of late, but he can come on and do something. When the time is right we have options in the forward positions.
‘He’s frustrated and disappointed at the end of games. That’s understandable.
‘I’ve spoken to him and get on with him quite well.
‘He’s a very hard-working lad and he knows his chance will come.
‘He’s keen for it to come sooner rather than later – and so he should be.
‘But he knows his opportunity will come.
‘I do think there will be a time when he’ll come on and be able to take his chance in whatever position.
‘He’ll be able to get a goal and be off and running. Then he’ll be able to really start his season.’
Jackett made it clear there’s no personal reasons behind Naismith’s lack of playing time and had nothing but praise for his attitude.
Former boss Paul Cook was critical of the ex-Rangers man when placing him on the transfer list last year.
But Jackett has seen nothing but a positive approach from Naismith.
‘He’s not been a problem since I’ve been here. He’s had a good attitude towards training and the other players,’ said the manager.
‘I haven’t seen a negative side of him since I’ve been here. He’s trained hard
‘It’s other people being ahead of him.
‘Against Crawley and Gillingham I felt Bennett and then Main were the right ones.
‘I wanted to try Bennett in the number 10 role just to get him in the centre of the pitch and use the little bit of pace he has.
‘He played well when he came on there against Oldham and the same against Crawley, so I wanted to continue with that.
‘Then the physical side of Curtis’ game up front was right to complement it really.
‘Kal’s best position is through the middle, nine or 10.
‘He’s played most of his football wide left, so he can play in that position as well.
‘But it’s close with Kal Naismith. Very close.’