Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett challenges James Bolton to improve attacking contribution

Kenny Jackett has challenged James Bolton to ‘reassess’ Pompey’s right-back requirements.

James Bolton has been told he must improve aspects of his attacking play. Picture: Joe Pepler
James Bolton has been told he must improve aspects of his attacking play. Picture: Joe Pepler

Following five-successive appearances, Bolton was dropped against Lincoln – and will remain on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Bristol Rovers.

Instead, Scotland under-21 international McCrorie will continue at right-back.

In the meantime, the Blues have been working on bolstering Bolton's understanding of the position’s demands, laying on specialised sessions.

The door is not closed on the summer recruit from Shrewsbury – but Jackett wants an improvement in terms of attacking thrust down the right.

He said: ‘James is fighting to get his place back and has not let anybody down. I have been pleased with him overall, but I feel at times we need somebody to bring the ball out from the back.

‘In my favoured 4-2-3-1 system, it is really big that the full-backs come out and make the play as well, we need them in terms of going forward.

‘James has two assists and produced some good crosses from deep at times.

‘But, certainly in that Wimbledon game, we were looking to power out and that (right-back) is a big position for us at the moment, quite often it has been our spare man.

‘I feel full-backs have to be able to get forward and maybe burst through with pace – it’s something which is part of solving our attacking equation.

‘We have been working with James, that is part of his progression. I wouldn't say it's learning to do it, but to do it more, taking that responsibility, he is capable of it.

‘Sometimes you have to take a step out to go again, I don't think it is always a case of staying in and playing through it. A game or two out can help – reassess, draw some breath and go again.

‘James can still do that, when he gets the opportunity. I do think he will be back.’

Another consideration is Anton Walkes, who started the campaign at right-back.

However, he fell out of favour during the fourth game of the season at Sunderland, with McCrorie initially coming in.

The former Spurs man has failed to make the 18-man squad for Pompey's past three League One fixtures and, presently, is not in the equation to challenge either Bolton or McCrorie.

Jackett added: ‘Anton played in the early part of the season.

‘He is a variable player, can play all along the back-line, left-back as well, and has done a job in central midfield. He is competing on a few fronts.’