Pompey boss salutes attacker’s recent form

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Kenny Jackett saluted Kal Naismith’s Pompey form.

But the Blues boss revealed contract talks with the Scot have been put on hold as promotion remains his top priority.

Pompey forward Kal Naismith Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey forward Kal Naismith Picture: Joe Pepler

Naismith has started Pompey’s past three games and played a key role in the back-to-back victories over Oldham and Oxford United.

The 26-year-old netted the opener in the 3-0 success against the U’s last weekend.

He also displayed leadership qualities when helping break up the melee that ensued after Alex Mowatt’s slap on team-mate Nathan Thompson.

Naismith’s effort against Oxford was just his third of the season – which is a long way off his tally of 15 goals last season.

The former Rangers man has been operating on the Blues’ left wing in recent games and is expected to keep his spot for today’s trip to Walsall.

Jackett reckons Naismith can create ‘unexpected moments’ for his side to benefit from.

The Pompey boss said: ‘Kal’s played well in the past few games and through different spells through the course of the season.

‘His recent spell in the team has been very good.

‘It’s a different division for Kal and, of late, he’s been playing in a wide-left role.

‘That makes him slightly more of a provider than a goalscorer.

‘In any position he plays in, though, Kal has good energy, he has a lovely left foot and is good in the air.

‘He can produce the unexpected moments that can create chances and score goals.

‘At times, we have lacked some experience in those situations.

‘I don’t know how much it always transpires into points, but it is good to see someone taking charge and doing the sensible thing in the heat of the battle.

‘I’ve found Kal responsible and mature in the time that I’ve been here.’

Naismith’s contract comes to an end this summer.

He signed a three-year deal in 2015 after joining from Accrington Stanley.

The forward has held discussions about extending his Fratton Park stay. But nothing has been agreed.

It means Naismith can potentially leave on a free transfer – a scenario likely to interest clubs.

Jackett admitted negotiations had stopped as his focus is on helping Pompey clinch a League One play-off spot

‘We’ve kept dialogue open – obviously nothing has been agreed,’ added the manager.

‘We have talked to Kal and all of us feel we have a clear relationship and a very good relationship with him.

‘It will be on a back-burner right now while we have an opportunity to get into the Championship.

‘We have to put that first and will work hard to do it.

‘Kal is a current first-team player and is in the team.

‘Communications have been good but nothing has been settled yet. There’s been good dialogue but nothing has been agreed.’