Portsmouth boss admits Anton Walkes' confidence has been hit as he gives verdict on Rangers man's right-back potential for Coventry

Anton Walkes is facing a fight to start against Coventry. Picture: Joe Pepler
Anton Walkes is facing a fight to start against Coventry. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett acknowledged Anton Walkes’ confidence has been rocked.

And he admitted Ross McCrorie has added another dimension to his side from a right-back berth, as he weighs up his side for Coventry.

Walkes disappointed in Saturday’s defeat at Sunderland, before being replaced by midfielder McCrorie with 17 minutes left. 

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That continued an indifferent opening to the season for the 22-year-old after winning the battle to start at right-back.

Jackett feels the former Spurs man has to show the resolve to come through his latest challenge.

He said: ‘Anton’s had spells in his two years here when he’s looked a good full-back.

‘On Saturday and at Shrewsbury there was a lack of confidence going forward.

‘I think he has confidence in his defending, but maybe a lack of confidence and some of his selection in a tough position (has become an issue).

‘There were times when it was two v three and he was our spare man and outlet.

‘The game against Tranmere they put (Morgan) Ferrier out there and gave him a job to do defensively.

‘For him anyway he has to keep working hard.

‘Selection, quality and confidence will come because there’s a good athlete there and a good defender.

‘All players are like that (have confidence go up and down). He’s a good player and he’s big enough to come through it.

‘With Anton he has to keep working hard and make sure he realises this is football.

‘He has to take it and bounce back. He’s capable of that.’

Jackett now has to decide who starts at right-back tonight as Mark Robins’ side arrive after a promising unbeaten opening.

Walkes, Gareth Evans and McCrorie are options, with James Bolton also returning from injury.

Jackett would have no hesitation continuing with Rangers man McCrorie there after impressing on Saturday.

He said: ‘Ross has played all around but midfield has been his one. He wants to play midfield but is happy to play wherever.

‘In his younger days he’s played at centre-back as well.

‘He gave us a lively finish down the right (at Sunderland), put some good balls in and could take it past people which we needed at that time.

‘We needed that and he caught the eye.

‘He did give us something we were missing, definitely.

‘He was an outlet in terms of recycling the ball and with Marcus (Harness) looking lively the right person supporting him is very important.

‘Similarly, we have Bolton coming back into the squad who’s our option as well. Timing-wise it’s very good.

‘He had a very good pre-season. He was impressive and impressive in training as well.

‘He’s a good player who got sent off on his debut. He’s got over that and got back on the pitch.

‘He has to keep working hard to get back into the team, he’s capable of it.

‘I don’t feel I’m short of options for players in that position and people who can do it.’