STEVEN NAISMITH believes he is still a work in progress for Everton – but he is excited by the chance to deputise for Kevin Mirallas tomorrow.
The Scotland international has started just three Premier League games for the Blues so far, although he came off the bench to replace the injured Belgian winger in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Sunderland.
Despite scoring his first Everton goal in last month’s Merseyside derby, Naismith still feels he is fighting his way back to full fitness after the second cruciate knee ligament injury of his career left him sidelined for nine months.
Speaking after the win over Martin O’Neill’s men, David Moyes insisted his summer signing from Glasgow Rangers is getting sharper every week, and the 26-year-old is keen to prove his manager right – and hopes that chance comes against Reading.
He said: “Hopefully if I can get in the starting team again I can show what I can do. I think in the games I have played, be it off the bench or starting, I’ve at least been in positions to create chances or be on the end of chances.
“They’ve not all gone in but it’s a work in progress for me personally at the moment.”
Naimsith admits he was frustrated by his individual performance against the Black Cats, but his growing maturity and experience mean he is confident of getting back to his best soon.
“It was just an off day for me personally but it was great for us to get the win,” he said. “Through that period when you’re coming back, you’re still getting your match sharpness and your sharpness around the box.
“It’s something I’m constantly working on and I’ll try to improve week to week.
“I’m probably less frustrated when things aren’t going my way now than I was the first time around when I was injured. I know it’s part of coming back. “Not only that, but moving to a club with so much quality in it, it takes a bit of time to get up to pace and I’d still say I’m going through that period.”
Tomorrow’s opponents have taken only six points from 10 games so far this term – leaving them 18th in the Premier League table.
But Naismith said: “They showed in the League Cup game against Arsenal (a game which ended in a 7-5 win for the Gunners) that they can play well and be an attacking force.”