Pompey boss: Why I took Naismith off transfer list

Kal Naismith Picture: Joe Pepler
Kal Naismith Picture: Joe Pepler
Brandon Haunstrup in action against Bury. Picture: Joe Pepler

Local lad after Pompey starting role for keeps

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Paul Cook has revealed how Kal Naismith has demonstrated he is worthy of a Pompey future.

And the winger has now been taken off the Blues’ transfer list.

There is a difference to the Kal of last season, without a doubt, his whole attitude about the game is better

Paul Cook

Naismith’s time at Fratton Park appeared to be over having been made available for transfer in May.

Despite two years remaining on his deal, Cook was keen to offload the ex-Accrington man, who arrived 12 months earlier for an undisclosed fee.

Naismith subsequently trained away from the first-team and was not included on the pre-season tour to Ireland.

Yet the 24-year-old has prompted a Cook rethink having broken back into the senior set-up.

And following five appearances in Pompey’s opening eight games, the Fratton Park boss has removed him from the transfer list.

Cook said: ‘Kal is doing great, he’s got his head down, has worked as hard as any player and been outstanding in the games he has played, especially at Yeovil.

‘Looking at his general performances and how he conducts himself around the club, he deserves to come off the transfer list.

‘I wanted him to leave in the summer, but within Kal Naismith there is as good a player as there is at the club and you have got to trigger all players in different ways.

‘If I have to put him back on the transfer list next week I will do, I have no problem with that. My job is to get the best out of Kal, no matter what it takes.

‘He is forcing his way into our plans, that is the reality of it.

‘He trains well, that is the big thing about Kal. A week in training replicates what you want to do on a Saturday – if you want to be sloppy out there all week you might be on Saturday.

‘There is a difference to the Kal of last season, without a doubt, his whole attitude about the game is better.

‘We have turned down money for him from clubs, Kal has been well sought after.

‘The whole thing about going on the list is to keep both parties happy, but he has never wanted to leave this club.

‘We wanted him to show how much he wants to be here – and he has certainly started to do it.’

Naismith marked his first appearance of the campaign by netting a stunning free-kick against Coventry in the EFL Cup.

He also won the decisive penalty at Exeter, while weighed in with two assists in the Checkatrade Trophy loss at Yeovil.

Cook added: ‘Pompey fans want to win, they are not overly bothered about formations and tactics, they just want to turn up and see their team represent them in a proper way.

‘The first thing our lads have to do is work hard.

‘When I came into management, it was said that you don’t have to win to be clapped off by your own supporters – and it hasn’t changed.’