James Bolton: I never gave up on winning Portsmouth right-back role

It’s difficult to pinpoint the heftiest body blow delivered to James Bolton.

Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 8:00 am

Following an injury-hampered introduction to Fratton Park life, he found himself out in the cold by mid-October.

If the sight of midfielder Ross McCrorie deputising wasn’t painful enough, there was then the emergence of left-back Brandon Haunstrup as a right-back preference.

Still, a battered and bruised Bolton refused to surrender his first-team challenge.

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The former Shrewsbury man has now started 11 of the Blues’ past 13 games in all competitions, weighing in with two goals, most recently Saturday’s victory over Sunderland.

Bolton said: ‘I never give up. It was tough at the start being in and out and not living up to what I expected of myself, but I would never give up.

‘It’s a massive club and I am privileged to be here, you just keep pushing on, you can’t give up.

James Bolton insists he never lost belief that he could establish himself as Pompey's right-back. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘My situation wasn’t ideal, but it’s football, it happens, it might happen again. I am not deluded, I have to make sure I am doing what I can.

‘I am one of those that needs to play games, I cannot come in and out, I am not that good a player, I need games and that run of playing.

‘Personally, I am playing a little bit better, but as a team we are doing really well.

‘I always have to be on my toes, I know there are good players that can slot right in so need to keep going, I can’t be comfortable.

‘I’ve seen it before, people can easily get swapped. I have to keep going and to keep working hard.’

During his time out of the first-team frame, Bolton has worked hard at aspects of his game.

Critical time on the training pitch which Jackett has also previously referred to.

The 25-year-old added: ‘There’s always room for improvement, I will do what I can to keep improving.

‘I’m committed to that sort of stuff, thinking of ways to get better and doing my extra bits on the training pitch, whatever I need to do.

‘Hopefully it pays off.’