The Shrewsbury pal who wrecked Portsmouth new boy James Bolton's start to the season

James Bolton was back in business against Crawley. Photo by Joe Pepler.
James Bolton was back in business against Crawley. Photo by Joe Pepler.
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With friends like James Bolton’s, who needs enemies?

The Pompey new boy would be justified in thinking just that after a month on the sidelines - prompted by one of his mates.

James Bolton had to struggle on while injured at Shrewsbury. Picture: Simon Davies

James Bolton had to struggle on while injured at Shrewsbury. Picture: Simon Davies

Bolton’s was just 20 minutes into his competitive Blues day when he found himself on the receiving end of a lunging foul from Shaun Whalley.

The fact the pair were Shrewsbury team-mates a few weeks earlier had little bearing on the issue, as the right-back was left hobbling down the flank of his old stomping ground and Whalley rightly booked.

With all of Pompey’s subs used the 25-year-old managed to make it through to the end of the game, but the damage to his ankle had been done.

A testing month away from first-team action ensued for him, a period he this week admitted proved challenging.

Bolton told how Whalley offered an olive branch to him via a text following on from the incident.

That followed on from the Shrews’ midfelder being given short shrift in the immediate aftermath of the foul.

Bolton finally got to make his full Pompey bow against Crawley in the 1-0 EFL Trophy win on Tuesday.

The former Stoke trainee was able to look back on the incident with less anger after his return – and explained the friendship has been just about able to survive the incident.

‘The whole injury has come from a stupid tackle from my mate at Shrewsbury,’ Bolton explained.

‘It was frustrating because I knew straightaway after the game there was a problem when I couldn’t stand on it.

‘I knew it was going to be a good couple of weeks at least, so it wasn’t ideal.

‘He tried to speak to me after the game and I gave him the cold shoulder!

‘Then he sent me a text saying sorry. I accepted his apology.

‘I was still very good friends with him and I still am, it just wasn’t very nice.

‘You want to come to a new club and make an impression.

‘But you have to take it as it is and look at the positives.

‘I’m back now so I can kick on and do well.’

Bolton’s setback followed on a pre-season also impacted by injury problems.

After signing, he featured in the opening warm-up game in Ireland against UCD before picking up a groin issue.

That kept him out until a return for the final friendly against Woking, in the week building up to the League One curtain-raiser at Shrewsbury.

There’s little doubt Bolton now needs to build momentum after growing into his debut on Tuesday night.

That means a weekend without a game before a rearranged EFL Trophy meeting with Norwich under-21s next Saturday, may not be the worst schedule for the player.

Bolton admitted he’s not enjoyed looking on as Pompey have chopped and changed at the back, with the target to be able to quickly get back to his best to aid a push up the table for Kenny Jackett’s side.

He added: ‘There’s been a lot of changing and trying to get the right system.

‘It’s not easy to watch from the stands really, but it’s nice to get those minutes under my belt for me.

‘Hopefully the weekend without a game comes at the right time for me and I can get some more minutes under my belt first against Norwich. That will be nice.’