Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley has heaped praise on the shoulders of his captain Tom Naylor, with the Pompey boss telling Hampshire Live of the lengths that the midfielder went to in order to play in their win over Bristol Rovers.
The skipper was in fine form for his side at the weekend as they saw off the Gas 1-0 at Fratton Park to condemn Joey Barton’s men to relegation to League Two.
Naylor has been almost ever present for the South Coast club this term and has played a part in a remarkable 49 games across all competitions as Pompey pursue a spot in the play-offs come May.
Speaking after the victory on Saturday, Cowley was quick to emphasise how much Naylor had sacrificed just to play in the game:
“Tom Naylor, that kid is out of contract, he’s got a hamstring (issue). He had a scan (on Friday) didn’t train and to put his body on the line for the team.
“He goes to the end and he gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on.
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“He is a fighter. You get two choices in this life, you are either a victim or a fighter and he’s a fighter.”
Naylor is amongst the most high profile members of the current squad who will find themselves out of contract come the end of June and as detailed in the report, it is said that preliminary talks have already been held with the 29-year-old and his representatives over a new contract.
No one can fault Naylor’s commitment to the cause, with playing through injury at his age not being recommended by most physios.
He stepped up when the team needed him and the fact that he has played a part in 49 games this term speaks volumes about the type of player that he is.
It would be fair to assume that he will be one of the players that Cowley is most keen to tie down to a new deal as he offers an engine in midfield that never seems to run out of gas.
For now the club’s focus must be on securing a top six finish but beyond that, sorting Naylor’s future must be viewed as a priority after his consistent performances this season.