Talbot impressed with ‘natural’ Naismith

Makeshift left-back Kal Naismith in Pompey action at Crewe    Picture: Joe Pepler
Makeshift left-back Kal Naismith in Pompey action at Crewe Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett, right, and Joe Gallen watch on from the touchline during Pompey's win at Charlton. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Drew Talbot believes team-mate Kal Naismith looks a ‘natural’ at left-back after making the transition from his normal forward role.

The Scot, who was placed on the transfer list at the end of last season, made a dramatic return to the Pompey starting XI for their EFL Cup clash with Coventry last week.

Naismith scored in that game, firing home a superbly-executed free-kick to send the match into extra-time, with the much-changed Blues finally losing 3-2 on the night.

The 24-year-old was then handed a further runout when a groin strain prevented first-choice left-back Enda Stevens from lining up against Crewe on Saturday.

And he didn’t disappoint as Paul Cook’s side recorded their first clean sheet of the season.

Naismith also impressed going forward, with his attacking instincts often providing an outlet down the left flank as Pompey looked to record their first win of the season.

Unfortunately, his desire to join in in a more advanced role didn’t pay off as the hosts remained resolute at the back.

However, his all-round performance – plus that outing against Coventry – impressed right full-back Talbot, who also started his career as a forward.

‘Kal’s doing really well,’ said Talbot.

‘I didn’t play at Coventry but watched and thought he was brilliant.

‘And he did really well again against Crewe.

‘I wasn’t always a full-back and know it’s never easy to fill in in that position.

‘However, he looks a natural there.’

Talbot admitted that both he and Naismith were keen to provide the attacking impetus Cook demands from his full-backs.

At the same time, though, he remains conscious of not putting too much pressure on the Blues’ central defenders by venturing too far forward and leaving his fellow defensive partners isolated.

And he believes that makes Pompey defensively sound.

‘I think me and Kal, we tend to push people up, we’re not full-backs at times and perhaps leave our centre-backs exposed at times,’ added Talbot.

‘We perhaps need to rein it in a bit away from home, but over the two games I’ve played David Forde hasn’t really had too much to do, so we’re quite happy defensively.

‘I was always a wideman/striker and I just graduated my way back there.

‘I’ve always enjoyed playing there, though, especially with this gaffer, but it’s hard work.

‘Sometimes you get your ears pricked, and you go on when maybe you shouldn’t have, but it’s just enthusiasm.’

– MARK McMAHON