Midfielder welcomes challenge of Thompson’s Portsmouth arrival

Pompey midfielder Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Ben Close is relishing the competition to start delivered by Ben Thompson's arrival.

And the midfielder believes the improved squad depth of Kenny Jackett's will prove crucial to Pompey's promotion challenge.

Close delivered a man-of-the-match performance at Doncaster, following his second-half introduction on Saturday.

That was his third sub appearance with starts arriving at Blackpool and AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup.

Thompson has beefed up the battle for a starting XI sport after joining on loan Millwall.

Close welcomed his signature and the impressive start of another new boy in Tom Naylor.

He said: ‘We need competition and we need competition all over the pitch.

‘I think that we've got it this season.

‘You look at every position. If someone can't play there is a good back-up in that area.

‘We have good players who are ready to come on.

‘Thommo has come in. He's a good lad and a good player as well.

‘Then there's Tom Naylor as well.

‘He's been excellent so far, and I think it's maybe not been recognised how good he's been so far.

‘I think he's been excellent. Nayls is good on the ball and off it.

‘Him and Thommo have been great so far. Competition all the pitch like that is needed.’

Kenny Jackett highlighted the need for midfield reinforcements with his existing options not operating at full throttle at the start of the campaign.

Danny Rose has returned from a broken leg this summer with Close himself struggling with a hamstring problem.

The Southsea talent is hopeful that issue is now behind him, however.

Two starts were followed by missing out against Oxford after Thompson produced a man-of-the-match display on his debut.

Close added: 'I feel good. Fitness-wise I feel okay and my body feels good.

'After playing 60 minutes and 90 against Wimbledon I thought it was a time to kick on and start hitting my form of last season.

'That wasn't to be, but I was glad to get a good amount of the game against Doncaster and now I want to kick on from here.

'You want to play, but you have to respect the manager's decision.

'You have to remember it's about the team and about the squad. 

'We've got four wins and a draw so far, so you can't really argue with that.'

           – JORDAN CROSS