Former Portsmouth favourite Ben Thompson struggling for game time at Milwall when Blues are in the market for a midfielder

Pompey are actively looking for the right man to boost their midfield options.

By Mark McMahon
Monday, 5th October 2020, 7:00 pm
Former Pompey loanee Ben Thompson is currently down the pecking order at Millwall

Former Aston Villa youngster Jake Doyle-Hayes and Leeds’ Mateusz Bogusz have already been mentioned as possible solutions, before being quickly knocked back.

More names will no doubt be added the longer the Blues’ pursuit continues.

However, maybe Pompey don’t need to cast their search net too far, particularly given a former Fratton favourite’s current lack of activity.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

Mention the name Ben Thompson to anyone of a Blues persuasion and automatically their minds wander to his classy performances during his brief loan spell at PO4 in 2018.

Back then his eye-catching displays propelled the Blues to the top of League One.

But such was the consistent quality of his performances during 27 appearances, parent club Millwall – then managed by Neil Harris – cut short his season-long loan to call him home in January 2019.

The Blues’ promotion hopes slowly but surely evaporated upon Thompson’s departure, leaving the Fratton faithful dreaming of what could have been had the Lions’ academy product not been summoned back by the Championship outfit.

Since then the 24-year-old has conjured up 46 appearances for his boyhood club – a figure no doubt impacted on by a couple of injuries in that time.

However, the frequency of those run-outs has been somewhat diminishing under current New Den boss Gary Rowett.

Seven games into Millwall’s 2020-21 season and Thompson has featured on only three occasions.

Three of them have been starts, but only one has arrived in the league – and that was only because loanee Ryan Woods was not eligible to play against parent club Stoke.

The Potters midfielder is a favourite of Rowett, with the manager now signing him on three separate occasions.

He’s been paired with another 2020 arrival, Ryan Leonard, in Millwall’s past three league games, ensuring the former Pompey loanee has not even made the bench for games against Rotherham and Brentford.

It’s no doubt frustrating Thompson, who told The News in April that he would never rule out a return to Fratton Park.

Meanwhile, it’s not just this season which has seen him drop down the pecking order.

Following the Championship’s return in June, the midfielder featured in six of the Lions’ nine fixtures,

Four of those appearances came via the bench, while the two starts he registered saw him finish games against Middlesbrough and Huddersfield watching on from the sidelines.

Such a change in circumstances is enough to get Blues fans dreaming of a glorious reunion on the south coast.

Thompson would be welcomed back with open arms and be seen by many as the man to help end that wait for a Championship return.

However, before we all get too excited, the current League One salary cap, along with the midfielder’s wages, would prove a major obstacle, even if a loan move was something that interested both clubs and the player himself.

Maybe if a suitor was found for Paul Downing or even James Bolton – two players currently on the fringes at Fratton Park – then Pompey might have room to negotiate.

It remains seems unlikely, though.

Still, we can still dream of Thommo back in a Pompey shirt again one day, right!

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

Thank you for reading this story. The News has launched a new subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage.

You can subscribe here to get the latest updates from Fratton Park, transfer news and expert analysis from our team of Pompey writers.

Every subscription helps us continue providing trusted, local journalism on your behalf for our city.