The inspiration Adam May can take from former Portsmouth loanee Ben Thompson ahead of loan move to Swindon
When Kenny Jackett took the Fratton Park helm, he was well aware of one upcoming youngster he’d inherit.
While in charge of Wolves, the club’s youth department enquired about Adam May while he was coming through the ranks at Fratton Park.
Although the manager wasn’t involved in negotiations – which ultimately didn’t come to fruition – his name would have stuck in Jackett’s mind.
Clearly, May was a player highly rated.
That was underlined by the fact Jackett started the youngster in five of Pompey’s opening six games during the 2017-18 season.
He’d go on to make 12 more outings in what would represent a breakthrough campaign.
As reward, the academy graduate penned a new two-year deal last summer, with Jackett adamant he'd continue his promising development.
There was frustration for May last season, however.
He didn’t feature for a single minute in the failed League One promotion push, with all five of his appearances coming in cup competitions.
An encouraging spell at Aldershot in the National League wasn’t extended after his youth loan expired upon his 21st birthday in December, nor a new club sought during the January transfer window.
May was sacrificed to ensure Pompey had enough bodies available in case injuries took their toll.
But after impressing at the Shots and previously Sutton United in the National League, now what is crucial is May’s progress does not plateau.
Highly rated by Jackett and Pompey’s academy staff, it’s clear the cultured right-footer needs regular minutes in the Football League.
He’s set for a switch to League Two side Swindon, which will be confirmed next week – and it looks an outstanding opportunity.
The 21-year-old heads to the County Ground where he’ll be working under a former team-mate who knows all about his attributes.
Noel Hunt is assistant boss of the Robins and would have had a significant input into his recruitment, while ex-Fratton favourite Danny Rose likely played his part.
It’s a signing Swindon will certainly believe can boost their League Two promotion chances.
And for May, it’s crucial he makes a significant impact.
Already behind the likes of Ben Close, Bryn Morris and Andy Cannon in the Pompey midfield pecking order – all of whom are a similar age – the Eastleigh-born ace faces the task of disloging the trio when he does return to Fratton Park.
Yet May can take encouragement from a loanee who thrived at the Blues last season.
Ben Thompson arrived from Milwall on the back of just 39 minutes of Championship football in 2017-18.
Well out of favour at the Den, the midfielder made a scintillating impact for Pompey, helping them set the pace in League One for three-and-a-half months.
Thompson was recalled to his parent club in January and played a key role as they survived the drop from the second tier.
So a drop to League Two does not just mean it’s going to benefit May and Swindon.
Should he impress then he could well find himself in Jackett’s starting XI after the new year if recalled.