Pompey pre-season stalwart looking to make step up

Alex Bass. Picture: Joe Pepler
Alex Bass. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jamal Lowe celebrates Pompey's promotion from League Two at Notts County. Picture: Joe Pepler

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During the past four summers he’s been a regular participant in Pompey’s friendly schedule.

Now the 19-year-old without a Football League appearance is seeking to step up his promising progress.

I would like to think my time at Salisbury made me a better player. It was a good experience, got me games and I’m looking to push on from that

Alex Bass

And for Alex Bass, that represents challenging from a freshly-appointed role as the Blues’ number two keeper.

It was July 2014 when Bass appeared as a 59th-minute substitute during a pre-season encounter at Bognor under Andy Awford.

The first-year scholar also had an outing at Thurrock – entering off the bench to replace Paul Jones.

Since then he has featured twice in the summer of 2015 and four times in the summer of 2016.

New boss Kenny Jackett has so far employed the teenager three times during Pompey’s present pre-season programme – and installed him as Luke McGee’s back-up.

For Bass, it represents natural progression after last season playing almost 40 times during a loan spell with non-league Salisbury.

The 2016-17 campaign also yielded a Pompey debut in the EFL Cup defeat at Coventry City.

Now the goalkeeper, who served 33 times as an unused substitute two years ago, is striving to negotiate another step towards the Blues first-team.

Bass said: ‘I was a 16-year-old when I came on for 31 minutes at Bognor – and have been part of the first-team’s pre-season ever since.

‘If you are with the first-team you obviously enjoy it a lot more than with the youth team, the standard is a bit better and pushes you on.

‘Now I’m Pompey’s number two and hopefully I’ll get some minutes.

‘You never know what can happen with injuries, there are cup games as well, so I’ll just have to see how it goes.

‘I would like to think my time at Salisbury made me a better player.

‘It was a good experience, got me games and I’m looking to push on from that.

‘It was great playing in that environment of Saturday 3pm and Tuesday 7.45pm, getting used to the competitive edge.

‘You’re playing with men – and everyone is there to win.

‘There are big men trying to squash you as soon as the ball comes into the box, so you learn to get over that. I am not scared of 6ft 5in massive lumps, it doesn’t change my approach when trying to claim the ball.

‘I’ve had my season where I’ve played a lot and shown the coaches what I can do.

‘You get the game experience and take it from there.

‘My playing time while a number two might be a bit short but you have to push on. Luke is a good keeper and I must press him as hard as I can.’

Bass has been on Pompey’s books since the age of 14 and continues to be highly-regarded by those within the club.

Following the departures of David Forde and Liam O’Brien, he has climbed further up the ranks – and is relishing the campaign ahead.

He added: ‘I’m massively looking forward to this season. We’ve gone up a league and it’s a tougher challenge.

‘If we can get off to a good start you never know what can happen.’