‘Different class’ Anton Walkes has been backed to take his Pompey chance.
The Spurs academy graduate is set to replace the suspended Nathan Thompson for the Blues’ trip to Bradford on Saturday.
The ex-Swindon skipper has been one of the most consistent performers in Kenny Jackett’s table-topping side.
Walkes is likely to replace Thompson at right-back and has been handed another prized opportunity.
And Tom Naylor believes the 21-year-old is the ‘perfect replacement.’
The midfielder said: ‘Thommo has been brilliant since he's been back in the side.
‘But we’ve got a perfect replacement in Anton Walkes if he goes in there.
‘It’s been difficult for him as he probably hasn't played as much as he would like.
‘If you’re not playing then you’re not going to be happy. That’s the same with every footballer, it’s your job and you want to be playing.
‘In training every day, Walkes is a different class.
‘He works hard and I’m sure he’ll take his chance.
‘Walkes is good at attacking and defending – he is quick.’
Thompson was Jackett’s first signing after taking charge of Pompey in June 2017.
The 27-year-old has made 52 appearances at Fratton Park, impressing with his tough tackling and in one-v-one defensive situations.
Naylor revealed just how difficult it is for attackers to get past Thompson – even in training.
The former Burton man added: ‘I played against Thommo a few times when he was at Swindon and he’s always been a proper professional.
‘He’s a great lad and a good footballer.
‘As I’m a centre-midfielder, I always know I can open my body up and he's going to be there.
‘Even if I need to put a ball over the top I know he’s going to be in that gap.
‘Thommo is a great defender. You can’t get past him in training at all, he’s a proper right-back.’