Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett: James Bolton's tackle was well-timed on Arsenal's Lucas Torreira

Kenny Jackett has backed James Bolton over the ‘well-timed’ tackle which incensed Arsenal fans.

Thursday, 5th March 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th March 2020, 5:14 pm

Lucas Torreira was forced off after 16 minutes following the defender’s challenge in Monday night’s FA Cup encounter.

It has since been confirmed the Uruguay international sustained a fractured ankle in the incident, with an injury timeframe yet to be specified.

Bolton’s right-footed slide tackle resulted in winning the ball first, while no foul was awarded by referee Mike Dean.

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Nonetheless, sections of the Gunners’ support were furious with Bolton.

Pompey boss Jackett has since sent his best wishes to Torreira – but insists the challenge was a fair one.

He said: ‘It seemed like a good tackle at the time, it didn’t really seem it was a bad one.

Arsenal's Lucas Torreira suffered a fractured ankle following James Bolton's challenge in Monday night's FA Cup encounter. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

‘James isn’t that type of lad anyway. Of course it was an accident and we do wish Torreira all the best and hope his recovery is quick.

‘I have watched it back, in terms of our camera angle it looked a good and well-timed challenge that played the ball. I didn't see any real reaction from their players either, which we do watch.

‘It is an unfortunate situation and you never want to see that. As the spare man at the back, James stepped across to the right-back position and timed it very well and read it.

‘Nothing was meant and we do wish him a speedy recovery.’

Bolton had been switched from right-back to a central-defensive role for the visit of the Premier League giants.

Partnering Christian Burgess, he adapted superbly, putting in a strong performance, regardless of Pompey’s 2-0 defeat in the fifth round fixture.

Bolton could return to full-back duties for Saturday’s resumption of League One action, with a tough trip to promotion rivals Peterborough.

Although with Burgess suspended, he remains a consideration to partner Sean Raggett in the centre of defence, as is Jack Whatmough.

Unquestionably the former Shrewsbury man demonstrated his versatility against the Gunners, excelling in a new positional challenge.

Jackett believes Bolton has no criticism to answer for his role in the injury which has sidelined Torreira for the foreseeable future.

And Pompey’s boss is adamant his team do not head onto the pitch with a desire to hurt opposition players.

Jackett added: ‘I always want my teams to strongly compete, but I do want a good disciplinary record as well, not reds, suspensions and mass confrontations.

‘We want to play hard but fair, and within the laws of the game. That’s what we set out to do.’