Portsmouth full-back: I won't allow repeat of my greatest footballing regret

It represents one of Nathan Thompson's greatest regrets during his football career.

Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 1:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 2:10 pm
Nathan Thompson congratulates Ben Thompson following another Pompey victory. Picture: Joe Pepler

Now Pompey's right-back is determined there won't be a repeat of that painful surrendering of automatic promotion.

Thompson was skipper of the Swindon side whose blistering early-season form established them as League One pacesetters in the 2014-15 campaign.

They topped the table on January 17, 2015 '“ ahead of second-placed Bristol City on goal difference.

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Nathan Thompson congratulates Ben Thompson following another Pompey victory. Picture: Joe Pepler

Come the season's conclusion, though, the Robins had slumped to fourth '“ 20 points off City and 12 points adrift of promotion.

The League One play-off final offered another opportunity, yet a 4-0 Wembley thumping by Preston maintained the heartache.

Some three-and-a-half years on, Thompson is a key component of a Blues team currently heading League One by two points.

And he's determined to make that advantage count to avoid a miserable recurrence

The full-back said: '˜It's about converting how well we have started into promotion because, at the end of the day, nobody remembers if you are not promoted at the season's finish.

'˜I look back at that 2014-15 season with Swindon with a huge amount of regret.

'˜Up until January, we were right in the mix and then fell away and ended up in the play-offs. We lost in the final, a tough pill to swallow, that's for sure.

'˜I don't know whether it was a lack of experience, but the teams around us at the time were Bristol City, MK Dons and Preston, who possessed players that had been in those situations before.

'˜Whereas we were a very young side at the time and unable to continue what we started.

'˜Without a doubt there's regret. At the time I was captain and to be able to win promotion with a team, at whatever level, is a huge achievement personally.

'˜Missing out inspires you even more, I don't want to get so close and not achieve it again. We've had a nice start and it's important we're able to continue that.

'˜I look around this dressing room and there is more experience here, there are lads who have played the level above, and hopefully that will be a huge positive later in the season.'

Thompson must sit out Saturday's trip to Bradford after picking up a one-match ban.

A fifth booking of the season was collected at Accrington last weekend, opening the door for Anton Walkes to return.

Regardless, Thompson is impressed with the quality of a squad which has produced an outstanding start to the campaign.

He added: '˜We've got quality in attacking areas, resolve at the back, lads that run selflessly and experience. We know how to see a game out and know how to manage it.

'˜There are other lads still learning. I said it last year, those that have only just come on the scene, like Ben Close, now have the experience from last season to build on.

'˜Last year you would go into matches thinking 'We'll take a draw here'. While in the case of opposition like Wigan, we would come away over the moon with an away draw.

'˜We've been disappointed with some of the draws this season, which shows a real shift in mentality.'