James Bolton can cement Portsmouth first-team spot - Kenny Jackett

Kenny Jackett believes James Bolton’s latest first-team stint could become permanent residency.

Saturday, 28th December 2019, 12:00 pm

Injury has once again handed the summer recruit an opportunity to impress as Pompey’s right-back.

Bolton’s stay on the south coast has largely been unconvincing so far, forcing Jackett to try other options to fill the hole left by Nathan Thompson’s exit.

Initially replaced by Ross McCrorie, then the left-footed Brandon Haunstrup was utilised in the role, but McCrorie returned.

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James Bolton has been handed another spell to impress as Pompey's right-back. Picture: Graham Hunt

Now, with both of his rivals sidelined through injury, Bolton is back in Jackett’s starting XI.

And with successive clean sheets recorded against League One’s top-two clubs, Pompey’s boss is looking for the ex-Shrewsbury man to cement his place.

Jackett said: ‘Both full-backs have been a revolving door really, that happens.

‘Bolton is an experienced right-back and is looking for that run, the last couple of games would have done him the world of good coming into a back four which has kept clean sheets.

‘He can definitely cement a spot in this team.

‘James is a really good pro, a committed player, and at 25 is coming to his peak, so there is no reason why he shouldn’t crack it at all.

‘He is part of a back-four unit which has helped us and hopefully he can keep giving the winger in front of him the service going forward as well.

‘James has never shown his frustration, he has always been resilient, he prepares well, trains well, and is a good character around the place.

‘I was pleased with him against Wycombe, this latest little run will have given him a lot of confidence, I’m sure.’

Bolton has now made 13 appearances since the free agent signed a three-year deal in June.

And with Ryan Williams now out with a groin problem, Jackett is seeking for the full-back to establish a partnership with Marcus Harness down the right flank.

The Blues boss added: ‘I’ve been saying to James to keep serving Marcus, keep giving him the ball, as much as you can.

‘It is quite a basic thing and can make a big difference to us.’