Keeper presence key to Pompey

Pompey keeper David Forde Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey keeper David Forde Picture: Joe Pepler
Ashley Brown

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DAVID FORDE has been backed to ensure Pompey’s defence is knocked into shape.

And Christian Burgess is hoping the keeper can bring a stability to the No1 position at Fratton Park.

Forde has established himself as first-choice keeper following his season-long arrival from Millwall at the end of last month.

The 36-year-old has quickly offered a dominant presence for Paul Cook’s side, with a willingness to come for crosses a standout part of his armoury.

Forde was beaten twice in the 2-0 defeat at Morecambe on Tuesday night, but found there was little he could about either goal.

Burgess has been impressed with the impact the Irishman had made since coming into the club.

That has included making a vocal presence felt to a back four which has been relatively youthful this term.

Pompey’s defence has had an average age of 24 in three of their opening four fixtures.

Forde’s nous has already proved useful behind that – and Burgess believes it’s going to be a key ingredient as the campaign continues.

Burgess said: ‘The keeper’s experienced. We’ll certainly give him that one. He’s done well.

‘He’s not frightened to come for crosses and he’s dominant.

‘That’s a good thing to have behind you and he talks a lot. We can certainly hear him all the time!

‘He comes for crosses and looks strong coming for them, which you have to be.

‘He talks a lot and knows the game.

‘It can be a bit annoying for defenders sometimes! It’s good for us, though.

‘He’s an organiser and we can learn from him. That’s good for a young back four.’

Forde has been the man to operate between the sticks for each of Pompey’s league game’s so far this season.

Youngster Alex Bass made his competitive senior bow in the EFL Cup loss at Coventry last week.

Bass has since been sent out on loan to Southern League Salisbury to gain minutes –and made his debut for them in the 4-1 win over Bishops Cleeve on Tuesday night.

Former Academy man Liam O’Brien has also returned to Fratton Park as back-up for Forde.

Last season Pompey used five goalkeepers across the campaign.

Brian Murphy, Paul Jones, Aaron McCarey, Ryan Fulton and Ryan Allsop were all given first-team outings.

Burgess admitted he would like to see more stability in that area this term.

He added: ‘It would be nice to have one keeper through the year.

‘Not many clubs let so many keepers get a chance.

‘Normally the number two is sat on the bench and you feel sorry for them.

‘Last year everyone had a go here, which is obviously not ideal.

‘Fingers crossed he can stay injury free and have a good season.’