JAMAL LOWE has been challenged not to let up on his hurtling Pompey progress.
Kenny Jackett is certain the attacking talent has huge potential to grow under his guidance.
And the Blues boss is confident the 23-year-old will remain grounded on that journey, after he committed his future to the club.
Lowe signed a new deal until 2020 on Thursday – with the club having an option to extend it by 12 months – to provide a boost ahead of today’s meeting with Scunthorpe.
Jackett believes the contract is reward for the speedy development he has made, with the former Barnet trainee a key figure in his first-team plans this term.
The Pompey manager acknowledged it would be easy for players to get carried away when rising from the non-league game in the manner Lowe has.
But he praised the promotion hero for staying grounded – and now wants to see him maintain his development.
I’m pleased with him,’ said Jackett.
‘He got an initial contract coming into the club from non league but earned a new one.
‘He’s established himself in the first team and, for the next few years, we as a club want to be going up.
‘So I’m pleased he’s committed his future here and has similar feelings to myself that he wants to continue to improve.
‘He has improved since coming out of non league and he wants to be part of a side doing well in this league.
‘It’s always a possibility (a player will not stay grounded) in professional football, because it’s such a bubble. It’s such a different life.
‘It’s a short career and an insecure career because you go contract to contract and injuries can play such a big part.
‘So keeping level is very, very important, as is having the right balance between single-minded determination and being open to learning as well.
‘For Jamal, he’s shown good hunger and maturity since I’ve been here and working with him. I’m confident that in the future he won’t slack off or fall away.
‘He’ll keep working as hard as he can, see where he needs to improve and keep the determination to grow high.’
Aside from an early-season suspension, Lowe has played a part in every league game for Pompey this term, clocking up a total of 30 appearances to date.
Jackett rates the arrival from Hampton & Richmond as one of the most athletic players in his squad.
The Blues boss feels that will be a big factor in Lowe being able to move up another level.
Jackett added: ‘He’s one of the most athletic players we have. You do need that, particularly as you get to the top end of the league.
‘When you see Wigan and Blackburn with a lot of players who’ve been in the Championship, you don’t necessarily see better technical footballers but you do see better athletes.’