Kenny Jackett: Committed Nathan Thompson will remain in my Portsmouth team

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Kenny Jackett is adamant Nathan Thompson remains his first-choice right-back.

And Pompey’s boss has praised the defender’s ‘honesty’ over intentions to wait until the summer before assessing his Fratton Park future.

Thompson has drawn criticism from some sections of the Blues’ support having shelved talks over a new deal.

His existing contract expires on June 30 – with the 28-year-old keen on sampling Championship football next term.

Jackett has reiterated that ambition could well occur with promotion-chasing Pompey, who are presently fourth in League One.

In the meantime, he has no qualms retaining Thompson in his starting XI.

Kenny Jackett has no qualms keeping Nathan Thompson in his Pompey side, despite the contract situation. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett has no qualms keeping Nathan Thompson in his Pompey side, despite the contract situation. Picture: Joe Pepler

And the former Swindon man is expected to line up at Charlton on Saturday after recovering from a sickening clash of heads with Matt Clarke.

Jackett said: ‘He’s very committed and very professional. Nathan knows what he is doing in terms of his approach and wouldn’t sell anybody short.

‘You have incidents like Saturday and definitely see he is committed. Over a two-year period he has been a very good player for us and a big part of the winning equation.

‘He’s not saying it won’t be Portsmouth, he’s saying he wants to discuss it in the summer and keep his options open. That is fine and I wouldn’t play him if I didn’t feel he was committed.

‘Your job as the manager is to constantly review the players and you are doing that to everyone for different reasons.

‘I’m pleased I’ve been able to have a very frank and honest conversation with Nathan about his contractual situation. He talked very well and has been very honest, I respect that.

‘In terms of his performances, they have been good, he came back into the side at Bury and conceded one goal in two games.

‘I am comfortable with what Nathan has said and comfortable that he is committed.

‘The situation with him in the summer very much depends on what is out there. He wants to keep his options open and I respect his honesty, sometimes it is better to be like that.

‘For me, I am comfortable with it. He has the shirt at the moment and, like every player, will have to work hard to keep it.’

Thompson represents Jackett’s first Pompey signing, following his June 2017 arrival.

He has since totalled 65 appearances, establishing himself as first-choice right-back.

And Jacket remains optimistic of retaining the combative performer.

He added: ‘He is not saying he wants to leave Portsmouth, he is just saying he wants to park it until the summer.

‘That's fine – then in the summer it may well be Portsmouth. It may well be.

‘We are quite close to the end of the season anyway, so it’s not a bad thing either, you are talking about a two-month period and then possible extension of the play-offs.

‘He is a committed lad and, like all of the players, playing for his future.’