Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett considering fit-again James Bolton for Sunderland start

Kenny Jackett is adamant he has no qualms throwing in James Bolton for a Stadium of Light baptism.

Friday, 16th August 2019, 10:00 am
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 10:41 am
James Bolton's sole Pompey outing so far has been a substitute outing at Shrewsbury on the opening day. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages/Pin

The summer recruit from Shrewsbury has completed a full week’s training to prove his fitness following an ankle injury.

It’s another opportunity to challenge for the right-back slot after an injury-hampered introduction to Fratton Park.

Anton Walkes is presently in possession of the first-team shirt, helping the Blues’ defence keep successive clean sheets.

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In comparison, Bolton's sole involvement has been a 37-minute substitute appearance at the Shrews.

And despite Pompey’s recent defensive solidity, Jackett insists the fit-again defender occupies his thoughts for a maiden right-back start at Sunderland on Saturday.

The Blues’ boss said: After a slightly disrupted pre-season, hopefully James can be fit enough to go from strength to strength.

‘He comes straight into consideration (for Sunderland) having trained all week.

‘I don’t think there are any problems with Bolton going into the team, he has trained all week and it’s not like he’s playing out of position or has never played in the league.

‘I think he should be able to fit in pretty quickly now.

’James is established in our division and been a good player for Shrewsbury over the last two years. He can definitely do well for Portsmouth, despite being a disruptive pre-season so far.

‘Admittedly, he hasn’t had many matches and it’s hard to think where he can play those games to get up to speed.

‘But you always get one or two of those in pre-season, it’s just where it is.’

Bolton was sidelined by a groin injury for the majority of the summer friendly schedule.

Now Jackett’s looking at his free-transfer recruit to vie for the right-back spot.

He added: ‘He came here to be in the first-team.

‘When he came on at Shrewsbury, it was interesting for me to see he got a great round of applause, that usually tells you quite a lot in terms of how the player was.

‘It’s quite unusual because he was playing against them that day – so generally he must be quite popular.’