Kal Naismith admits he’s hugely enjoying the opportunity to ‘develop as a player’ during his spell as a makeshift Wigan Athletic left-back.
And the 27-year-old Glaswegian – an attacking midfielder by trade – admits with every game he plays, it becomes more and more second nature.
“It’s definitely getting more comfortable the more games I play,” he told the Wigan Post.
“And I’m leaning a lot on the lads alongside me, the rest of the back four and also Sammy (Morsy) in midfield.
“To have old heads like that around me, talking me through games, is invaluable.
“I’m learning game by game and fingers crossed I can keep going.
“It’s my first time in this league, and it’s a very competitive division as I expected.
“I feel I’m developing as a player all the time, and I’m very grateful to the manager for allowing me the opportunity to do so.”
Naismith dropped to the bench at Derby on Tuesday to accommodate a tweak in formation, but was back on the field within 25 minutes after Danny Fox pulled up lame.
And Latics boss Paul Cook admits Naismith – whose performances have flown under the radar somewhat – has become an invaluable member of the squad, in the absence ofAntonee Robinson since November.
“Kal was thrown into the side because of the injury to Jedi (Robinson),” acknowledged Cook.
“But he’s grown into the position, and he’s matured both on and off the pitch.
“I’m not saying he’s become a Wigan fans’ favourite, because I know he hasn’t.
“But I think he’s certainly grown on Wigan supporters.
“These lads like Kal, who have been brought in to the fringes of the team...when they come into the team, it is a step up for them.
“The likes of Kal, and Gary Roberts and Jamie Jones...they’ve been squad players, who have all taken full advantage of the chances they’ve had.
“Kal can be very proud of the levels he’s managed to reach over the last few months. He’s become an established member of the first team this year and it’s a big step in his career development.”
Naismith is expecting Robinson to come back into the fold before too long, but is determined to enjoy his moment in the spotlight as much as possible.
“Jedi’s an absolutely outstanding young player and he did so well while he was in the team before his injury,” added Naismith.
“He’s training hard and he’s champing at the bit to get back in the side.
“I’m sure he’ll get game-time before the end of the season, but it’s up to me to make it as tough a decision as possible.”