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.
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.
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.
‘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.’