KAL NAISMITH has been told he can be a ‘massive’ player in Pompey’s drive for success.
But Leam Richardson has warned the winger must first prove he can operate within the team framework.
If he matches that with his attitude and application towards the game he will be a serious playerLeam Richardson
The transfer-listed Scot arrived off the bench to win the decisive penalty at Exeter on Saturday.
Pierce Sweeney’s 84th minute foul allowed Gary Roberts to step up and clinch a 1-0 victory for the Blues.
It meant successive victories for Paul Cook’s side – and a first on their travels this season.
Naismith was surprisingly ahead of Kyle Bennett on the bench at St James Park.
The transfer window closes on Wednesday with the 24-year-old’s future in doubt, but Richardson believes he can stay and prove his worth.
Pompey’s assistant boss said: ‘If you want to play for Portsmouth you have to apply yourself right every single day, you have got to make sure you are correct in your mentality and want to play in a group.
‘Kal Naismith is on the transfer list and could be a massive player for Portsmouth.
‘We had Sam Hird at Chesterfield, the situation was exactly the same, he ended up winning trophies, captaining the team and going to Wembley with us. He’s still there.
‘As long as the player is registered and applies himself right then gaffer will make sure they work hard and get on the pitch – and Kal is no different.
‘He needs his mentality to change, to tune into a team ethic and become part of that team.
‘To be honest, he is working hard at it every single day.
‘Kal’s talent is not in question. He is 6ft, pacy, has a left-foot and a technique to die for. He is technically as good as anything we have got.
‘If he matches that with his attitude and application towards the game he will be a serious player.
‘Once he does that – if he ever does that – it can change. Only Kal can do that.
‘I do not know if he will leave before Wednesday, you don’t want your good players to go.
‘He needs to get his head down and work hard.’
Meanwhile, despite being fit, Bennett failed to make a Pompey league squad for the first time in his career.
It was a noticeable absence, explained by Richardson.
He added: ‘Kyle is one of our best players.
‘He has been in and around and played and trained every single day for the last 15 months for us, so while we have a big squad and are able to utilise it then we will.
‘He is fine, he had a little bug early the week and we felt it was more beneficial to leave him out for the balance of the bench as well as on the pitch.
‘If Gareth Evans gets left out it’s an argument, if Amine Linganzi gets left out it’s an argument, the message is you have to work hard, get on that bench, get on that pitch and stay on it.’