Patient Walkes right back into Portsmouth frame

The door has finally been unlocked to allow Anton Walkes' first-team return.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 11:34 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:18 am
The recalled Anton Walkes celebrates with Ben Thompson following Saturday's 5-2 victory at Fleetwood. Picture: Daniel Chesterton

Now the versatile performer is bidding to capitalise on his new-found opportunity as Pompey's right-back.

Undisputed first-choice Nathan Thompson has been sidelined for a month after tearing his hamstring in the Boxing Day defeat at Gillingham.

It's a blow for the Blues, with the combative full-back enjoying an outstanding campaign which has seen the side top League One for more than three months.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The recalled Anton Walkes celebrates with Ben Thompson following Saturday's 5-2 victory at Fleetwood. Picture: Daniel Chesterton

Still, Walkes has now been offered the chance to deputise, a familiar role for the ex-Spurs player since his initial loan arrival in January 2018.

A goal-scoring return in the 5-2 triumph at Fleetwood marked his first league start in eight fixtures.

And, with today's visit of AFC Wimbledon (3pm), Walkes is targeting continuing making a positive impact upon his Blues recall.

He said: '˜That's just how it is in football, people pick up injuries, this is what I train for.

'˜I want to play, it's frustrating sometimes but we're doing well so I can't really complain.

'˜You sit and wait your turn, only 11 players can start and it's a 25-man squad. That's something I understand, I'm a footballer.

'˜Nathan (Thompson) is a great person to be around, I have learnt a lot of things from him, the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch is very professional.

'˜Unfortunately he's injured, but hopefully I can add some of the qualities I possess to what I have been watching and help the team.

'˜You don't want to be sitting out, so hopefully I can keep myself in a good condition and keep performing.'

Walkes has made 27 appearances in his Pompey career, scoring twice.

His versatility has proven useful for Jackett, employing the 21-year-old as a holding midfielder, central defender, but mainly right-back.

Walkes' lengthiest spells in the side during his 12-month stay have arrived in the injury absence of Thompson.

And once again he has a job to carry out to the best of his ability.

He added: '˜I've just got to do my job, there's nothing too complicated.

'˜My priority is defending and making sure we stay solid at the back, earning a few more clean sheets because we have enough forward power to win the game.

'˜That's about it really!'