Anton Walkes won't be regarding James Bolton as Portsmouth's new Nathan Thompson

Anton Walkes celebrates with the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
Anton Walkes celebrates with the Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler
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It was an arrival that spelt the end of Nathan Thompson’s Pompey career.

James Bolton became the Blues’ first signing of the summer earlier this month, penning a three-year deal after arriving from Shrewsbury.

With Thompson shelving contract talks in February, he almost certainly won’t be returning to Fratton Park next season.

Assistant manager Joe Gallen is hoping James Bolton will become the Blues’ new Thompson.

Anton Walkes will have something to say about that, however. 

After playing understudy to Thompson last season, the former Tottenham ace will have designs on making the right-back berth his own next term.

Although it’s Bolton who’s played more regularly over the past two seasons, Walkes should have confidence in his own ability. 

He's a graduate of Spurs’ academy, where he skippered the under-19s team in the UEFA Youth League on three occasions, while he also had a period cutting his teeth in the MLS at Atlanta United.

Only two years the junior, Walkes isn’t that far behind Bolton in the experience department.

The 22-year-old first arrived on the south coast in January 2018 on loan from White Hart Lane.

A successful stint, operating as both a right-back and defensive midfielder, resulted in his move becoming permanent last summer.

Of course, Walkes’ off-field problems were well documented during 2018-19 when he received a two-year driving ban, a £1,070 fine and a 12-month community order on charges of driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

But the way he responded was hailed by Kenny Jackett, who felt the Lewisham-born man improved his fitness levels significantly.

When deputising in the injury absence of Thompson during December and January, the boss admitted Pompey didn’t really miss him because of Walkes’ form.

His performance in the 1-0 FA Cup third-round victory at Norwich was immense.

And when acting as a makeshift left-back in the play-off semi-final first leg at Sunderland, Walkes rarely put a foot wrong.

Walkes amassed 35 appearances in all competitions last season – with 25 of them starts.

Solid defensively and an attacking threat with rapid pace when he gets going, he’ll certainly be trying to ensure Bolton isn’t Thompson’s direct replacement.