From Portsmouth's top scorer to the Championship's best defender - the unlikely position change which has ex-Rangers and Wigan Athletic man on top form for Luton Town

Kal Naismith has impressed after adapting to a new role which will perhaps raise an eyebrow or two among Pompey fans.

By Pepe Lacey
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 5:00 pm

The Scot was the Blues’ top scorer during the 2016-17 campaign, as Paul Cook' s side stormed to the League Two title.

Now Naismith is making waves as the Championship’s outstanding defender this term for play-off chasing Luton Town.

Despite leaving the south coast as a left winger, the 29-year-old was converted into a make-shift left-back as financial struggles hampered his new side Wigan.

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Now, after his switch to Kenilworth Road, Naismith has once again shaped into a new role on the left side of a back three.

And this term the former Rangers man has seriously excelled in the position.

In fact, Naismith is rated as the best central defender in the second tier by WhoScored, ahead of the likes of Rob Dickie, Jimmy Dunne, Kyle Bartley and Sonny Bradley.

Naismith’s success in his new position has seen him pick up Luton’s player of the month award twice this season, as well as making the headlines in the Hatters’ last-gasp win over promotion rivals Bournemouth with an outstanding finish three weeks ago.

Kal Naismith (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

He joined Nathan Jones’ side in January 2021, and recently revealed how he is enjoying his fresh experiences at Kenilworth Road.

Speaking to The Lutonian he said: ‘I’ve not had a bad minute at the club, or a bad experience with a player, member of staff or anyone.

‘I said to my missus and I said to my mates, “this feels good”. It’s been the best 12 months of my career.’

The 29-year-old joined Pompey in 2015 as part of Paul Cook’s redevelopment of the Blues’ squad as they pushed for promotion.

Kal Naismith has impressed in his new role at Luton Town.

During his three year stay in PO4, the Scot scored 21 times in 94 appearances in all competitions as well as being the top scorer in the Blues’ League Two title-winning 2016-17 campaign.

Despite being a key part of Kenny Jackett’s plans, Naismith left Fratton Park for free in 2018 and linked up with former boss Cook at Wigan – where he would score just once in 32 outings in his first term in the Championship.

In total, Naismith spent two-and-a-half years at the DW Stadium, before joining the Hatters and has since become a fans’ favourite impressing in his maiden 12 months - making 51 appearances.