KAL NAISMITH’s high-intensity Pompey return has been saluted.
Blues assistant manager Joe Gallen feels the forward’s attacking threat has been missed through his injury absence.
The Scottish talent made his full return from a seven-game absence with a knee injury against Scunthorpe on Saturday.
Naismith got a full 90 minutes under his belt, following on from his 37-minute outing against Chelsea under-21s.
The 25-year-old was utilised in an attacking role alongside Brett Pitman, as Kenny Jackett opted to switch to wing-backs against the Iron.
Gallen was impressed with the graft Naismith showed and the level of hard running he put in.
The former Rangers man missed training yesterday as he recovered from his exertions.
But the Blues assistant manager is looking for more of the same from him as his side go to Rotherham this weekend.
Gallen feels Naismith can show improvement on his impressive graft to go with the other attributes he offers his team.
He said: ‘Kal brings a lot of energy to the team, a good left foot in terms of putting in set-pieces and a goal threat.
‘He can win a lot of headers and he has a good fitness level.
‘His running levels are very high, too, so it’s a good mix to have. We’re really pleased he’s fit.
‘Kal didn’t come out (to train) yesterday but will be okay to train today.
‘He ran so much and, more importantly, he sprinted so much. His repeated sprints were high, but he’s very fit.
‘After a week’s training he’ll be able to do a bit more this Saturday.
‘He’s now got some confidence after his injury. He’s got his heart and lungs going and will be able to do a bit more.
‘He never looked anything but very fit and we’ve missed him.
‘We’re really pleased to have him back.’
Jackett will have to decide if he’ll stick with wing-backs at Rotherham after introducing the system on Saturday.
And whether to continue with Brett Pitman alongside Naismith is another decision he needs to make.
Gallen added: ‘With Brett and Kal I feel there’s a good threat there. Brett’s an outstanding scorer who holds the ball up, wins headers and has experience.
‘We’re more than capable of scoring with them. It’s a lively partnership.’
- JORDAN CROSS