The Insider: Portsmouth are getting a solid, consistent defender in Shrewsbury's James Bolton

Lewis Cox, Shrewsbury reporter at the Shropshire Star, gives the lowdown on Pompey signing James Bolton….

Friday, 7th June 2019, 2:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th June 2019, 2:16 pm

I can’t praise James Bolton enough. He is a very solid, consistent defender.

First and foremost, he is a defender and not an attacking right-back.

He will get forward but I think he would agree that being on the ball is not his natural game and it’s something he has been working on.

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Bolton will get forward, though, because he’s big, strong and a good athlete.

Defensively, he is very solid. Although Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts played him at wing-back last season, Bolton is more of a conventional right-back.

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A lot of people actually think he’s a future at centre-half – particularly on the right-hand side of a back three in a wing-back system.

James Bolton, left, has signed for Pompey. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

He’s Mr Reliable and you’d struggled to rate him below a six every week.

I don’t want to do him a disservice because it’s not glamorous but he is solid and won’t let you down.

He’s good in the air and a danger at set-pieces – he got the winner at Fratton Park the season before last.

That season Shrewsbury reached the play-off final and he was very important. He played most games and former boss Paul Hurst really helped him improve.

Bolton almost embodied Hurst’s side being a hard-working, unglamorous player who was signed from the lower levels.

He arrived from National League side Gateshead in 2017 and we barely knew anything about him.

But Hurst knew the non-league scene and Bolton made the step up seamlessly.

He has matured and progressed in the past two years having played 85 games in the two seasons, while he’s a good age at 24.

The fans wanted to keep him but it is a good move for him.

It’s a big shame Shrewsbury couldn’t get a fee but that's how it goes when a player impresses.

The supporters are gutted to lose him because Bolton’s the one they wanted to keep of the players who were out of contract.

He’s a solid defender, very popular and a good lad. He will do well for Pompey and the fans should like him.