Pompey boss backs Salisbury experience to boost youngsters

Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain in pre-season action against the Hawks Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain in pre-season action against the Hawks Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook believes Pompey’s promising youngsters can thrive from their Salisbury experience.

Alex Bass has joined Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain at Steve Claridge’s non-leaguers for an initial one-month loan.

The highly-regarded keeper has already made his debut, although was not included in Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Bitton in the FA Cup preliminary round as the Blues did not want him cup-tied.

Oxlade-Chamberlain did feature, however, taking his tally to five appearances and one goal since joining the Southern League division one south & west side at the start of this month.

Pompey have high hopes for the Academy products, who were handed first-year professional terms this summer.

And Cook believes Salisbury offers the ideal platform to assist their development.

He said: ‘It’s a great experience for Alex.

‘He’s a young lad, we think he has a fantastic future, and playing senior football at clubs like Salisbury is important.

‘It’s local so we can still watch him geographically, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain is also there and it gives them an opportunity to play senior football and earn some experience.

‘Alex is there for a month, we have good relationships with some of the clubs now, we are here to help each other, that’s the reality of it.

‘Some of our players aren’t ready at the minute, that’s our problem, and he has to play. There is not first-team games and competitive games for them and there is a balance we must keep.’

Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared as a half-time substitute for the Whites in Saturday’s 5-0 FA Cup demolition.

Former Gosport striker Justin Bennett netted a hat-trick as they booked themselves a home tie with Frome on September 3.

Of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s five appearances, three have been starts as he enjoys match-time at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

The midfielder and Bass both started their last league fixture, a 4-1 victory over Bishops Cleeve in which Oxlade-Chamberlain scored one and had an assist.

Cook added: ‘We have such a strong squad, by the time you get to the depths of October and November squads will kick in and there’s such a long campaign ahead.

‘Depths of squad will come into it, without a doubt.’