Pompey winger backed to reclaim starting spot

Jack Compton misses from close range against Crewe. Picture: Steve Reid (123363-963)
Jack Compton misses from close range against Crewe. Picture: Steve Reid (123363-963)

He was the biggest casualty of the Notts County debacle which sparked Pompey’s resurgence.

Jack Compton has since been whiling away the matches watching from the bench as the Blues climb the league table.

But Michael Appleton believes the left winger is ready to be reintegrated.

And he has backed a change in the 24-year-old’s attitude to provide the springboard to get him back into the starting line-up.

Compton started seven of the first eight matches for Pompey following his summer arrival, appearing as a substitute in the other.

Yet he has featured for just 15 minutes in the five matches since starting in the miserable 3-0 defeat at Notts County.

It was a wretched Meadow Lane performance from Appleton’s men which prompted a players’ meeting the following week.

Since then they have picked up 10 points from a possible 12 in the league.

Compton himself made his first appearance since Notts County with a 15-minute cameo in the victory over Crewe at the weekend.

He even had an opportunity to score following unselfish work by Luke Rodgers, only to shoot straight at the Railwaymen’s keeper.

But Appleton believes fans could now be seeing more of the wide man over the next few weeks. He said: ‘I thought it was the right time to bring Jack on against Crewe.

‘He has trained quite well over the past two weeks and obviously been disappointed not to be involved.

‘I had to give him a bit of rollicking a couple of weeks back about his concentration and having the right attitude.

‘In fairness, Jack has responded really well in training – and that is why he had his chance on Saturday.

‘When he came into the team previously there would be periods of the game where he would go missing a little bit and we couldn’t really afford that with the position we are in.

‘He came on against Crewe and had a chance to score as well – but it was his right foot he hit it with.

‘I don’t fancy him with his right foot, he only uses that to stand up, so I am not surprised he didn’t score!’

Compton now faces added competition for a place on the left flank following the arrival of Akos Buzsaky.

The former Premier League performer occupied that spot against Crewe and gave plenty of suggestions there is more to come as his match fitness increases.

Jon Harley has been pushed up the left-hand side in recent weeks, while Lee Williamson has also occupied the role.

In addition, Liam Walker is a naturally left-sided player who can feature and the likes of Jordan Obita and Ashley Harris offer genuine versatility.

And Appleton acknowledges Compton’s area is particularly well-stocked for players at present.

He added: ‘It’s good to be reasonably at strength in terms of the areas that Jack plays.

‘Then we have someone like Adam Webster, who I would love to take out of the team just for a couple of games to give him a breather and to regroup.

‘But I am not in a position to do it.’