Wigan Athletic star sets his sights on Sunderland

Kal Naismith admits Tuesday night’s return to the Wigan Athletic side has left him ‘itching to help’ the side pull away from the bottom of League One.
Kal Naismith in action at LincolnKal Naismith in action at Lincoln
Kal Naismith in action at Lincoln

The Scot marked his return from injury after seven games out with the opening goal at Sincil Bank.

Unfortunately, Latics were unable to hold on, with goals from Jorge Grant and Tom Hooper sending the Imps up to second in the table.

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And Naismith admits Latics are doing it tough – on and off the pitch – at the moment.

“It is tough to take, the way we lost the game,” he said.

“On a personal note, it was good to be back, and I enjoyed the game – apart from the two goals we conceded.

“There were positives, though, a lot of positives.

“I thought the game-plan worked. We sat in, we gave them respect, and for large parts they couldn’t break us down and looked out of ideas.

“It is disappointing – for the second goal we could do better – but I felt the lads gave it their all.”

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Naismith was happy to get through the 90 minutes, having been a surprise inclusion on the team sheet.

“It was tough at times,” he acknowledged. “I stiffened up, but that will only help me from here moving forwards.

“I felt a little bit leggy in the second half but I’ll rest up, and that 90 minutes will do me brilliant after one or two sessions.

“I am just itching to get back and help the lads, we’re all together and we just need a result.

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“It’s all ifs and buts, but we’ll go to Sunderland (on Saturday) now and try and get a result there.”

There will again be huge responsibility on the club’s youngsters at the Stadium of Light – which Naismith says will be of benefit in the long term.

“It’s frustrating and there’s pain right now, but it’s a great opportunity for these young lads and they all work as hard as they can,” he added.

“Maybe some of them aren’t ready, but they give it absolutely everything they can and they’ll be better players for it.

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“It’s a great opportunity - it’s still a great club, with great people and great coaches, and they’ve been given this platform to go and play.

“You can’t say that any of them are lacking in effort, and that goes for the more senior lads as well.

“We’re all trying our best and everybody is still together.”

Naismith also singled out Scotland Under-19 striker Kyle Joseph, with whom he shared the striking duties at Lincoln.

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“I really enjoyed it up there with young Kyle,” he enthused. “He’ll be a top player, a really, really good player.

“He works his nuts off, not just in the games but all week in training as well.

“He has a great appetite for the game, a great attitude, and I enjoy playing with him.

“He did a lot of work for me in what was my first game back after not having a lot of training.”

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