The resolve shown by Portsmouth new-boy James Bolton to make dream move from Shrewsbury reality

New boy James Bolton. Picture Colin Farmery / Portsmouth FCNew boy James Bolton. Picture Colin Farmery / Portsmouth FC
New boy James Bolton. Picture Colin Farmery / Portsmouth FC
The dream was to make it at the highest level with his hometown club.

But like so, so many aspiring footballers James Bolton found those hopes dashed as a teenager.

And from having his sights on a breakthrough at Premier League Stoke, Pompey’s new arrival found himself thrown on to the non-league game scrapheap as a teenager.

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Many young prospects would never have been seen again after being dealt such a blow.

But in stints with Macclesfield, Workington, Halifax and Gateshead, Bolton showed the resilience to regroup and fight back.

And after Shrewsbury took a gamble on the right-back he now can look forward to playing in front of packed crowds at Fratton Park next term.

The 24-year-old admitted it’s a prospect he could never have anticipated when mixing it in some of the game’s non-league backwaters.

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‘To be honest, no, I never would’ve thought it would happen (a big move),’ Bolton said, after signing a three-year deal last Friday.

‘I played a lot of non-league football and sometimes it’s easy to get a little bit lost down there.

‘It can be quite hard to get out of it once you are down there.

‘It can be quite hard to find a team to take a chance on you.

‘You can never say the dream is dying, though.

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‘It’s just a matter of taking chances and doing as well as you can.

‘There’s a lot of good players down there.

‘There are players who aren’t as fortunate to get that chance to play in the league.

‘But it’s a good standard and I think there’s a lot of players at non-league level capable of making the step up.’

Fortunately for Bolton, he found a manager in Paul Hurst who showed faith in his ability by taking him to New Meadow two years ago.

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He admitted he thought chances would be limited after stepping up, but instead he became a key cog of the surprise package of the 2017-18 season.

That, of course, memorably saw the Shrews go within a whisker of gaining promotion before falling to Rotherham at Wembley in the League One play-off final.

Bolton added: ‘I was playing week-in, week-out (at Gateshead) but you just want someone to take a chance on you

‘Luckily for me Shrewsbury did and I will be forever grateful for that.

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‘To be honest, I thought I would go there and be a bit-part player.

‘It didn’t work out like that, though. I got into the team and became a main starter.

‘I’ve been able to rise to it so far and hopefully I can continue to do that at Portsmouth.’