Catch up with Kal Naismith who has been revelling in his role at left back.
- Kal Naismith looks ahead to Latics' clash with Ipswich Town.
- Scotsman happy to see fellow left-sider Antonee Robinson back from injury.
- Naismith confident of Latics' warm-weather training having a positive impact.
Kal Naismith joined Latics in the summer having played high on the left side for Portsmouth in Sky Bet League One, as well as behind the striker where he scored numerous jaw-dropping strikes during his time at Fratton Park.
Little did the Scotsman expect that a few months later he’d be drafted in at left back following a serious ankle injury to Everton loanee Antonee Robinson, but since November, Naismith has been one of the first names on the team sheet in his new position.
Speaking about his role, the 27-year-old, who celebrated his birthday this Monday, said:
“I’m learning all of the time, I’m happy to be playing in that new role and delighted to be playing in this league and just learning every day.
“I go back after the game and watch it, I take little bits from it. It’s funny because I feel like my crossing hasn’t been great as it’s my best asset, but my defending is getting better every week.
“I take the positives from that, I just want to keep learning as a player and keep improving.”
With USA international Robinson now back in contention, Naismith says he only sees it as a positive, adding:
“It’s great to have Jedi back, he’s a top player and has played at the highest level.
“He had a great season last year and was having a great one so far this season up to his injury, so it was unlucky for him.
“It’s great to have him about the place, as well as Gavin Massey, Nick Powell and all the new signings that have come in too.
“You saw against Stoke City with Massey, Powell and Joe Garner coming on that it’s three unbelievable subs to try and change a game, we’ve got strength all over the place so it’s great to have them all involved.
“We’ve got a tight nit group here and Antonee will get his chance, he’s a great young player as well as the other lads within the group who will be working hard to get their chance.”
Latics travelled to Dubai last weekend for a warm-weather training camp and competitive fixture against Chinese Super League champions Shanghai SIPG, with Naismith and co. coming out on top 4-3, something he believes will be useful leading into the final third of the season.
“Hopefully we can kick on, we’ve had a little bit of a break, but we will take confidence from it knowing that we’re doing well, coming together and doing the right things.
“We need to keep working hard on the training ground, knowing that we go again in two weeks’ time.
“This league is growing, it’s tough, every game is a battle, every game is a lot of hard work but for us to be getting points against Stoke takes a lot of hard work and mental energy.
“We want to keep playing and playing, but it was good for us to have a little bit of a break, to come together and get even better as a team unit.”