Ex-Spurs defender Anton Walkes challenged to give Portsmouth added attacking threat against Birmingham

Anton Walkes has been challenged to up his Pompey attacking threat.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Sunday, 11th August 2019, 12:02 pm

The defender is set to retain his starting place for tonight’s Carabao Cup first-round tie against Birmingham.

With summer arrival James Bolton missing the majority of pre-season with a groin problem, Walkes won the right-back race to feature from the outset for the Blues’ League One curtain-raiser at Shrewsbury.

However, the ex-Tottenham man was substituted for Bolton in the 53rd minute at New Meadow.

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That’s because Jackett wanted increased thrust from the wing, as Walkes struggled to make an impact in the final third.

But with Bolton picking up an ankle injury on his return to the Shrews, Walkes will feature against the Championship side.

Jackett believes the 22-year-old has the pace and athleticism to cause problems when foraying forward.

And the boss wants to see Walkes put his attributes to full use.

Pompey defender Anton Walkes Picture: Simon Davies

Jackett said: ‘I wanted to have a look at James Bolton because I thought we were spare down that right-hand side.

‘In the first half, I was really looking for Anton to drive into that space.

‘Unfortunately, I don’t think he really got the crosses in which we needed to do off a spare full-back.

‘In the second half, we changed it within 10 minutes and I wanted to give James Bolton a similar opportunity, although it was difficult to judge him on Saturday.

‘Anton is a very good athlete. Sometimes quality and decision-making are a big thing but he is very athletic and has a very good attitude.

‘Both of their full-backs shuffled out. In the two-v-one areas, we were looking to play around them and get good deliveries into the box.

‘Lee Brown put two quality balls in we didn't get on the end of. Similarly, from the right-hand side, we were looking for that because that's the way it worked out tactically.

‘Anton has come back really fit from pre-season. He has the pace, power and athleticism to play that role and drive forward in the circumstances.’