After a strong first season back in League One football, Portsmouth fans were hopeful of a strong summer to turn them into real promotion contenders.
The 2017/18 season had seen the club finish narrowly outside the play-offs with Kenny Jackett taking to his new team incredibly well after Paul Cook’s summer departure.
There were plenty of impressive performances that season and that was something taken into account by Jackett in the window, bringing in just ten new signings without spending a penny.
Louis Dennis, Lee Brown, Anton Walkes, Ben Thompson, Ronan Curtis and Andre Green were among the names to arrive at Fratton Park.
And, after being released from recently relegated Burton Albion, a new midfielder arrived on a free transfer.
This is FLW Rewind, where we take a look back at a big decision made by a club, analyse the initial reaction and document what happened next.
— Portsmouth FC (@officialpompey) June 8, 2018
The man in question this time was defensive-midfield rock Tom Naylor who signed for Pompey on a three-year deal.
Some fans were happy with the arrival, but for others, it did not show the desired intent to win promotion:
Brilliant signing a big strong ball winner exactly what we need
— Lee laver (@laver_lee) June 8, 2018
Is this the hard hitting championship centre mid we are after ? Lol
— Jake Squibb (@JakeSquibb) June 8, 2018
— Jay Leggett (@jayleggett1) June 8, 2018
@Clarkeyboy12345 good signing that
— Liam McDermott???? (@lm_macca) June 8, 2018
However, he was somebody who Jackett clearly wanted badly, and the 27-year-old was thrown straight into the starting XI for the season’s curtain-raiser against Luton Town.
Pompey won the match 1-0 and Naylor’s importance quickly became apparent to the Fratton Park faithful.
He broke up play, distributed possession efficiently and protected the back-four brilliantly and his partnership with Walkes looked like a very promising one.
Whilst the likes of Curtis, Jamal Lowe and Oliver Hawkins continue to grab the headlines in attack, it is the presence of Naylor that has allowed them to do just that.
If such a calming and solid presence was missing, those three attackers would have far less license to be creative, showing that the summer signing has truly become one of the club’s most important players.