Pompey v Barnet: Kal Naismith will add ‘raw’ threat

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KAL NAISMITH has been backed to put his injury frustration behind him and let his ‘raw’ talent shine.

Paul Cook is set to restore Naismith to his Pompey squad today for the clash with Barnet at Fratton Park.

Pompey forward Kal Naismith Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey forward Kal Naismith Picture: Joe Pepler

And he feels the Scottish talent will add an attacking positivity to his options if called upon.

Naismith has had to settle for just 24 minutes of Johnstone’s Paint Trophy action at Exeter this season.

That’s after the 23-year-old picked up a thigh injury on the eve of the campaign.

Those issues have made it a tough period for the former Rangers trainee as he adjusts to life on the south coast.

What do you get with Kal? Final third entries, talent, left foot and can score a goal.

Paul Cook

But Cook has kept a close eye on him as he got a full week’s training under his belt.

And the manager feels Naismith is ready to make an impact when he decides to utilise his promising ability.

Cook said: ‘Kal’s back involved this week and will be in the squad.

‘He’s been brought in for that positivity as well.

‘He’s learning. He’s been out for a month.

‘In football there is two ways of playing: With the ball and without the ball.

‘You must be strong without the ball and good with it.

‘When you get both right you are good to go.

‘What do you get with Kal? Final-third entries, talent, a good left foot and he can score a goal.

‘He’s going to be a good player but is still learning the game. He’s raw.

‘He was one of our lads who played the most minutes in pre-season.

‘Being out for a month has set him back a bit, but that’s all it is. He’s ready now.

‘It was right before the Gillingham game. He’s done a lot of work after missing out.’

Cook explained Naismith is typical of the talent he has in his ranks who Pompey fans have yet to see properly.

The Blues boss has decided to keep a settled formula with his starting XI in league action.

That’s meant Jayden Stockley coming in for Matt Tubbs at Luton has been the only change he has made to his side so far this season.

That is set to change against Barnet today, with Cook indicating Conor Chaplin will be given a start.

He knows the dilemma remains, however, when it comes to managing his 24-man first-team squad.

And it is a difficult situation when the likes of Naismith is joined by a host of promising other players who aren’t getting out on the pitch.

‘It’s hard for our supporters to see: We have good players here,’ added Cook.

‘What you have to do is make sure they are getting the opportunities. This is the thing.

‘We’ve got a lot more in us than people have seen. That’s for sure.

‘It’s good but you wish sometimes you can tell three players they aren’t involved to get the other players in.

‘We are still finding out about each other.’