Christian Burgess can be the cornerstone of Pompey’s League One promotion-winning side.
Kenny Jackett revealed he’s looking for the defender to emerge as a leader of the Blues team he’s moulding.
And the Blues boss believes the 26-year-old can form a formidable partnership with his fellow centre-half Matt Clarke.
Jackett sees the defenders as a pairing to build a successful third-tier side around this season.
Burgess signed an extended deal at Fratton Park last week, which ties him down to the club until 2020.
There’s been plenty of major players from last season’s title success who have found themselves on the fringes this term.
But the former Peterborough talent has continued to be a mainstay of his side through the League One campaign.
Jackett has no doubt Burgess can thrive at the top of this league and make the step up to the Championship.
He said: ‘I’m really looking for Christian to come through and be a leader in that position.
‘I feel his best years now are the ones he’s just coming into.
‘We would like him to be a leader in terms of his approach, attitude and talking.
‘He has a good chance (to get to 200-plus Pompey appearances).
‘If he maintains his form and, wherever he can, keep improving he can achieve that.
‘He has to get to get to the top end and be League One/Championship. That’s his aim now.
‘He would want that coming into a prime time in his career.
‘Our aim and aspirations has to be top end (of the table) if we can, and Christian will be like a lot of the players.
‘They’ll be wanting to push themselves and prove they are off the standard required.
‘Hopefully they (Burgess and Clarke) can continue their good form and we can build a League One promotion-winning side around that partnership.’
Jackett has no doubt Burgess is now coming into the prime of his career.
And he falls into the age bracket where the Pompey boss is looking to position his squad.
Jackett feels Burgess has the right blend between experience and youthful energy.
He added: ‘At 26, he has his best years ahead of him at centre-back.
‘We don’t have that many experienced players across the back line. It’s something we do need.
‘He’s got a little bit of everything as a centre-back.
‘You’ve seen his progress over the past couple of years has been good.
‘For him now, he would have been desperate to get out of League Two and into League One, where he can test himself this year.
‘Ultimately, as a club we want to be competing at the top end of this league.
‘Where the players are and in what age bracket is quite a big thing.
‘Promotion sides are generally experienced teams.
‘For Christian so far, he has good experience and I think he’s going into a key phase and a good phase as a centre-back.’