Former Spurs man not happy with his Portsmouth displays as he targets run
Anton Walkes admitted he’s disappointed at his Pompey career not reaching the levels he’s aimed for.
But the defender has targeted nailing down the right-back position in his battle for starting time with Nathan Thompson.
Walkes was one of the few bright spots of another disappointing night against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, as the Blues made it seven league games without a win.
The 22-year-old has started five of the past seven games, and now has a clear run as Thompson recovers from a knee issue picked up in training.
It’s something the former Spurs man intends to make the most of, but Walkes explained he’s not been happy with his levels of performances throughout a season in which he’s made 25 appearances.
That’s something he’s determined to put right between now and the end of the term.
Walkes said: ‘I’m very self critical and I spend a lot of time looking at my own game.
‘I’ve got the shirt at the moment and I have to do everything I can to keep it.
‘Nathan is a strong competitor and a very tough man to go up against.
‘I couldn’t ask for a better mentor to learn from and he has been a big help for me this season.
‘I’ve got the shirt and I was quite happy with how I played against Bristol Rovers.
‘That’s one game, though, and I don’t think I’ve reached the levels I aim for at times this season.
‘I’ve spoken to the manager and he has told me the areas he feels I need to improve in.
‘So I need to work towards putting those things, and, if that happens I think things will come right for me.
‘At the end of the day I’m someone who wants to play football. I’m not someone who’s happy to sit in the stands.
‘So playing regular is my aim and what I have to be working towards.’
The immediate goal for Walkes is to help Pompey arrest a dreadful run of form which has coincided with a 13-game run since last keeping a League One clean sheet.
High-flying Barnsley arrive at Fratton Park on Saturday as Kenny Jackett’s men look to put that slump right.
Walkes feels it’s wrong to talk of the game as a promotion battle, however, after their recent struggles, with the focus first on simply starting to win again.
He added: ‘It’s been a long time since we’ve kept a clean sheet and, for me, we have to go back to basics.
‘We have to get it right at the back first and then build from there.
‘If we beat Barnsley it will be a big boost to confidence and is the sort of result which can see us go on a run.
‘I don’t really want to talk about whether we can achieve automatic promotion or not, though.
‘To be honest, we just have to be thinking about winning the next game at the moment
‘That’s what we should be looking at rather than looking too far down the line.’