Kenny Jackett: Anton Walkes can make Portsmouth first-team return
Axed Anton Walkes has been challenged to reclaim his first-team spot.
The 22-year-old was omitted from Pompey's 18-man squad against Coventry, despite starting the previous four matches.
A below-par display at Sunderland, persuaded Kenny Jackett the time was right to remove Walkes, who had begun the campaign as regular right-back.
Ross McCrorie took the ex-Spurs man's place on Tuesday night, although the Blues let slip a two-goal lead to finish 3-3 against nine-man Coventry.
Jackett won't rule out a first-team return for Walkes, who is contracted until the end of the season.
And he has urged the versatile performer to produce a positive response and fight his way back into Pompey's starting XI.
The Blues boss said: ‘I thought I'd give Anton a break and a breather, that was the best thing.
‘He's lost a little bit of confidence, particularly on the ball, and has to draw breath, analyse his own game, analyse the team and then go again.
'That’s football, that’s football life, you lose your place.
'Against Coventry, I decided to continue with McCrorie and, as the game wore on, he grew into it. His crossing got better, he got tighter and adjusted to the position.
‘For Ross, whether he’s playing at the back or playing in midfield, he’s a good-enough individual.
‘Anton came come back, that’s football life, you get disappointments.
'You have to draw breath and go again. Make sure you come back.'
Walkes has made 51 appearances and scored twice since his January 2018 arrival from White Hart Lane, initially on loan.