Kenny Jackett confident James Bolton can be a hit after luckless start to Portsmouth career

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Kenny Jackett is convinced James Bolton can be a Pompey hit as he prepares to make his injury return. 

The right-back is set to start in tonight’s Leasing.com Trophy clash against Crawley at Fratton Park (7.45pm). 

Bolton’s endured a stuttering start to his Fratton Park career after arriving on a free transfer from Shrewsbury in June.

He featured only once during pre-season after sustaining a groin strain against UCD.

And after coming off the bench in the Blues' opening-day defeat to the Shrews, the 25-year-old suffered an ankle injury following a robust tackle from Shaun Whalley. 

Bolton’s setback has ruled him out for longer than expected.

James Bolton is set to start against Crawley. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImage

James Bolton is set to start against Crawley. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImage

But Jackett is confident the former Gateshead defender can become a regular Pompey starter.

The boss said: ‘Tonight is a really good chance for James to play and get towards his best form, which we know he can produce.

‘It was quite a bad tackle at Shrewsbury, just in front of me, and he rolled his ankle as well.

‘It’s taken him quite a while to get up to full speed. He has definitely been out longer than expected.

‘It’s been a shade of grey. Some injuries are black and white but it’s been a shade of grey for the past two or three weeks.

‘I understand why but he's obviously towards the end of it, which is good news.

‘Now he has a couple of games approaching and some time before our next league game to get into the rhythm which we brought him here for.

‘He’s someone at 25 with his best years ahead with us and a very good right-back in this division.’

Christian Burgess has featured at right-back in Pompey’s past two games against QPR and Blackpool.

Despite operating in a makeshift role, Jackett’s been impressed with the popular central defender’s performances.

He added: ‘Christian has had two good games there.

'When it’s needed, he can come on and cross the ball – I think he is capable of it.

‘He will never let you down wherever you play him. 

‘Even looking at the QPR game, Christian got forward and had a shot as well as playing a perceptive pass in the second period for Marcus Harness.’