CHRISTIAN BURGESS has been challenged to become a Championship performer.
Kenny Jackett is convinced the central defender is equipped to step up the Football League.
I am a Christian Burgess fan, I think he’s a good player and he can come back stronglyKenny Jackett
And Burgess will be handed the opportunity to impress in Pompey’s final two matches following an injury to Jack Whatmough.
The summer 2015 recruit from Peterborough has racked up 124 appearances and scored six times for the Blues.
However, Whatmough’s re-emergence prompted a recent spell of eight successive matches on the bench.
Burgess featured against Charlton on Saturday after replacing groin-injury victim Whatmough at half-time.
He will now start at Bury this weekend – and Jackett wants more from a player he regards highly.
The Blues boss said: ‘I would be thinking and wanting Christian to be able to bounce back.
‘He lost his place to Jack, who has done very well and we have all been impressed with him.
‘Now it is up to Christian to finish the season strongly – and for us as a club to benefit from the three good centre-backs we have at the moment.
‘He has been professional and, speaking to him earlier this week, targets have been set.
‘I think Christian needs to improve in both boxes to be a really dominant centre-half – and he can do that.
‘He is coming into his best time in terms of age and should be – and is – a player pushing to get into the Championship.
‘He has played recent years in League Two. Now he’s in League One and coming into his best years as a centre-back, so he can get that.
‘He can be dominant in both boxes, his timing can be exactly right. If he gets that then I feel he can do well.
‘The Championship has to be his aim, definitely, as it is ours. We want to be in contention for promotion positions.
‘And Christian should be looking to go with Portsmouth into the Championship.’
His recent spell out of the side represents the first time Burgess has been dropped since arriving at Fratton Park.
Instead, he has watched from the bench as Whatmough and Matt Clarke registered four clean sheets in eight matches as a pairing.
Pompey had previously gone three months without a shut-out.
Regardless, Burgess has impressed Jackett during the campaign – and in November was handed a two-year contract extension.
The manager added: ‘Christian had very good spells during the course of the season where he and Clarke were excellent.
‘I am a Burgess fan, I think he’s a good player and he can come back strongly.
‘With Clarke and Whatmough also, hopefully that can be a strong area for us moving forward.
‘We want all three to keep on improving and the competition between them is good for the club.’