Naismith knows Luton will need to improve on FA Cup display if they are to beat leaders Bournemouth

Defender happy to get his first goal of the season during Harrogate triumph
Kal Naismith celebrates making it 3-0 to Luton against Harrogate last weekendKal Naismith celebrates making it 3-0 to Luton against Harrogate last weekend
Kal Naismith celebrates making it 3-0 to Luton against Harrogate last weekend

Luton defender Kal Naismith knows that his side must up their level of performance if they are to upset Championship leaders at Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

The Hatters go into the game on the back of a 4-0 FA Cup third round win over Harrogate Town on Sunday, which although looks good on paper, wasn't quite as impressive but for those in attendance, the League Two Sulphurites dominating at times, and unlucky not to score themselves.

To put it into context though, it was Town's first game in 29 days following an enforced break over Christmas, rising cases of Omicron leading to four matches being called off.

Kal Naismith slides in to win the ball back for LutonKal Naismith slides in to win the ball back for Luton
Kal Naismith slides in to win the ball back for Luton

Speaking about today's contest, Naismith, who made his Luton debut in the 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium last term, believes the leaders hold no worries for the Hatters, saying: "We’ve got respect for Bournemouth.

"They’ve showed their the best team in the Championship right now and if we play like we did today (Sunday) whether we would win the game 4-0 I don’t know, but we’ve got a weeks training to improve on this.

"We respect Bournemouth, but we can definitely try and beat them.

“We can beat anyone on our day, we have got unbelievable players all over the pitch.

“Bournemouth will be tough, but we’ll train well, prepare well and look forward to it.”

Naismith can go into the contest full of confidence himself, following a first goal of the season on Sunday.

He showed real quality to dink keeper Mark Oxley after picking up the rebound from his own shot, to double his tally since arriving at Luton in January last year, continuing: "I was relaxed in there, no panic.

"First goal this season, it’s always nice to score.

"Even though you’re a defender you’re judged on clean sheets which I’ve kind of got of comfortable with now.

"I'm delighted the other lads scored, Elijah, Bez, rather they score, but it’s a nice feeling to score."

Team-mate Luke Berry was impressed with the finish too, saying: "Normally you wouldn’t see many centre halves dink the goalie like that, they usually just wellie it and hope for the best!.

"But he’s got through, dinked it over the keeper and it’s top quality."

Manager Nathan Jones was quick to praise the efforts of Naismith as well, believing the Scot stood out ahead with his display, saying: "It’s nice to see Kal score as Kal was probably the only one who looked like he hadn’t missed any football.

"He slotted into defensive midfield very, very well, and showed real quality, real composure.

"He showed an understanding of the position and then went to left back, so he’s played three positions, but it’s a wonderful, wonderful finish and he’s in real good form."

Town's last Championship action was back on December 11 when they held previous table-toppers Fulham to a 1-1 draw in front of a boisterous home support.

Since they they had been left kicking their heels at the Brache with nothing tangible to prepare for, as on how the festive period was, Naismith said: "It was frustrating because you seem a bit lost just training, not just for the sake of training as you’re trying to stay fit, and get better, but you can’t really see that goal that you’re training for as it’s so far away with all the games being postponed.

"I guess it was good, something different, I’ve not had a Christmas where I’ve never had a game to think about for years, as long as I can remember.

"For the boys with kids and anyone really getting to spend time with their family, it was nice, but I think I prefer the games to be fair.

"It was so strange just having the games off, sitting in the house, some teams are playing, some teams are not, you end up feeling a bit lost/

"It ends up going on a bit, the last week was good as you’ve been able to see, 'right Sunday, we’ve got a game, a big game,' and you start to prepare for that.

"It's been different, but it’s a busy period Christmas, I’ve had family down, I’ve got two kids, so you’ve just got to say, no games, can you enjoy it with your family, and I’ve done that."

The numerous cancellations does mean that the Hatters have to cram 24 more matches into the second half of the season, plus an FA Cup fourth round trip to Cambridge as well, with two fixtures a week for the next month.

It's something Naismith will relish though, adding: "It is a lot of games, but that’s what we want, any player, there’s no point training, training, training, you want games.

"Personally I’m looking forward to the run that’s coming up."