Jackett makes keeper hunt Pompey priority

Brighton keeper Christian Walton has held talks with Pompey
Brighton keeper Christian Walton has held talks with Pompey
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

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KENNY JACKETT has prioritised Pompey’s hunt for a new first-choice keeper.

The Blues boss has stressed his desire to have a new No1 arrive at Fratton Park imminently.

But Jackett admitted that preference to quickly get to work with a new man between the sticks has to be balanced with bringing in the right option.

Brighton keeper Christian Walton looked set to arrive on loan, after successful talks last week.

But the details of that deal have still to be ironed out, with Pompey mindful of sticking to their budget.

Wigan are strong opposition to bring in Walton, although the Blues are still hopeful of landing the 21-year-old.

Spurs keeper Luke McGee is an alternative option, although the London club are keen to keep the former Peterborough loanee through pre-season.

That’s far from an ideal scenario for Jackett, who wants to get to work with the man Pompey opt for now.

He said: ‘We’ve been working constantly. We’ve wanted someone in right from the start.

‘It’s not like we’re comfortable in the situation and saying it’s going to be later. We need to do it.

‘But, similarly, there are a lot of keepers we could’ve signed.

‘It’s got to be one we, and particularly goalkeeping coach John Keeley and I, are comfortable with to fill the role.

‘Obviously, the keeper is such a vital position.

‘When playing the waiting game the situation can change.

‘So we’d rather take one sooner rather than later – but getting a good one is important.’

Jackett praised the early pre-season impact made by teenager Alex Bass, as he weighs up whether to make him his No2.

The former Wolves manager feels Pompey have to consider what is the best outcome for the 19-year-old’s progress.

‘I’ve got to say Alex Bass has impressed in pre-season. He looks a good, young goalkeeper,’ added Jackett.

‘It’s always a balance with keepers. It’s not like an outfield player where there may be 18 or 19 senior players and you have a chance in two or three slots.

‘So it’s a key position and Alex Bass has impressed.

‘Are we still looking for a keeper? Yes.

‘We’ve prioritised one, and then we’ll see after that and where our budget takes us.

‘For Alex, anyway, is he part of the first-team squad? Very much so. If that’s the case then one injury changes everything. Even with the best planning in the world it doesn’t always work that way.

‘As a young player and keeper, we are constantly thinking on that one.

‘You can bring two keepers in and let him play lower down perhaps.

‘Or keep him as a No2, but if there’s no injury where’s his game time?’