Naismith enjoying his latest role as Luton boss pats himself on the back for making a 'great signing'

Defender has impressed during stint at left back

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 1:21 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 1:22 pm
Kal Naismith gets forward to deliver a cross against Reading on Wednesday night

Town's utility man Kal Naismith is thoroughly enjoying his latest new role in the Hatters XI.

The 29-year-old joined on a free transfer during the January transfer window after leaving Wigan Athletic a month earlier and is quickly becoming one of the best pieces of business manager Nathan Jones has done.

He made his debut when coming on against Bournemouth following an injury to Tom Lockyer before starting against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

Naismith had a first league start in the 2-0 defeat at home to Cardiff before he took on a left wing back role against Millwall

An injury to skipper Sonny Bradley saw him drop into the centre of defence, a berth he occupied for the next eight matches, before Bradley’s return at half time against Barnsley saw Naismith move out to a regular left back position for the second period.

He has stayed there for the last three games, Town picking up seven points from nine, producing some top drawer displays, including a starring role in the 0-0 draw against Reading on Wednesday night.

On his latest switch, Naismith said: “I don’t mind it at all.

"When I came in I said it was the manager’s decision, he does what’s best for the team, not necessarily me.

"He's always got my best interests, but it’s about the team and what gets the team results.

"He thinks it’s by pushing me to left back and he's been proved right, not just with my performances, but the team’s performances.

"Sonny’s come back into that area and he’s been outstanding, as we've kept two clean sheets the last two games.

"Against Wycombe we were disappointed to concede, but we’ve got the win there as well, so it’s three on the bounce that he’s been excellent since he’s come in.

"I’ve been pushed out to left back and I’m enjoying it.”

Naismith hasn't had it easy either in his last two games either, up against Watford winger Ismaila Sarr on Saturday, the Senegalese international costing £25m when joining and already into double figures for the campaign.

He then took on Reading's Yakou Meite in midweek, the Ivory Coast international scoring four times when the Royals were last at Kenilworth Road in a 5-0 hammering last term.

Both were kept quiet by the full back though, as manager Jones said: “I have to say about Kal Naismith as I said if we’re going to win two games, he's going to have to have wonderful games as he’s coming up against Ismail Sarra and Meite who are two of the most productive right-siders you’ll come across in the Championship.

"He’s been outstanding in both games and we see him as a centre half more than anything, but he can play wide right as that’s where he finished the season with Wigan last year and he was magnificent for them there.

"So that just shows the versatility, but he’s an excellent trainer, an excellent athlete, he’s a leader, a talker, he’s experienced, he’s a great lad.

"He’s an absolute no-brainer for us, what a great signing, I pat myself on the back for that one."

Naismith’s last two games has seen playing behind attacker Kazenga LuaLua who was restored to the starting line-up and on how the link-up has gone, he added: "It’s good to play with Kaz, he’s a handful for anyone.

"The boy (Watford's Kiko Femenia) ends up getting sent off at the weekend as he’s struggling to deal with him and then the boy tonight (Andy Yiadom), he had a tough game himself, so it’s really good having Kaz ahead of me.

“He's outstanding, buy the boys have been brilliant.

"You only see the starting 11, but our squad is everybody, every day, working hard, wanting to get better.

"You see that when Kaz comes on against Wycombe and scores, Georger Moncur too, so it's been brilliant."