Kal Naismith backs fellow Hartlepool loanee Jake Gray to make big impact

Hartlepool debutant Kal Naismith.
Hartlepool debutant Kal Naismith.

Kal Naismith has heaped praise on his fellow Hartlepool Untied loanee Jake Gray, who can propel the club towards the upper reaches of League Two.

Naismith joined Pools from Portsmouth on a loan until January last Friday, the same day that Crystal Palace youngster Gray swap South London for the north-east.

He’s a good young player and if he can continue then that’s a massive plus for the team.

The pair, unbeknown to each other before last week, combined for Pools’ final goal in the 3-1 win against Leyton Orient on Sunday, Naismith the instigator who teed Gray up for his second goal.

Gray’s deployment as a box-to-box midfielder adds an extra dimension to a Pools midfield that has largely struggled this campaign, and Naismith believes that the 19-year-old can excel.

“Jake’s a good player who makes good forward runs,” Naismith, 23, told SportMail.

“He’s good for all us players who look for that forward pass – he offers an outlet for everybody when they’ve got the ball.

“He’s a good young player and if he can continue then that’s a massive plus for the team.”

Naismith played for his parent club on just six occasions this season, but the Rangers graduate is not bereft of League Two experience, having played 79 games for Accrington Stanley in the previous two seasons.

“I know what it’s like to be at the bottom end of the table and also what it’s like to be at the top with Portsmouth this year,” the Scotsman added.

“It’s a tough, competitive league and momentum is massive,

“If you can get one win and then a few more wins then any team can be up there in the league – anyone can beat anyone on their day.

“If you win three or four in a row you shoot up the table quickly.

“It’s so tight – there’s never usually any big gaps.

“The key is not to go on a bad run of three or four losses.

“If you can stay up there with a couple of good wins in a row at times and then you’ll always be up there.”

Prior to the past fortnight when Pools have beaten Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup and Orient, Ronnie Moore’s side did not have the winning-induced feeling of momentum.

Naismith, though, has sensed an increased positivity in training and is backing his temporary team-mates to capitalise on the upbeat mood.

“It was easy to go into Sunday and play with a good group of boys,” he revealed.

“Everyone was together, that’s two on the bounce now and there’s a good spirit about the place.

“I only know what I’ve came into and it seems like a good environment.

“All the lads are friendly and seem to be getting on but that’s always the case when teams are winning. We need to keep the run going to keep it the same.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Mansfield, Naismith says from experience of playing against them for Pompey in October, are a “good side with good attacking players who are quite a threat up top.

“They are fit, strong and quick all over the pitch.”

But he said: “We’re a strong side also and the lads will be confident going into the game.”