Claridge: Bass not yet ready for Pompey
Steve Claridge has lauded the Salisbury impact of Alex Bass.
But the former Pompey boss does not believe the highly-regarded keeper is ready for Football League action yet.
Despite Kenny Jackett’s pursuit of Brighton’s Christian Walton, Bass is presently the only goalkeeper on the Blues’ books.
The 19-year-old was today in attendance for the return to pre-season training as Pompey’s new boss met his squad for the first time.
Bass last term made his first-team debut with an outing in the EFL Cup, before joining Salisbury on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
Whites boss Claridge was impressed with the youngster’s contribution to their Southern League division one south & west season.
However, he does not feel Bass has matured to the level required to currently feature regularly for the Blues.
He said: ‘Alex absolutely improved during his time with us, 100 per cent.
‘I am not sure he really got to grips initially with what was required. He had his loan head on, it didn’t quite matter as much to him as it did to everybody else.
‘After two or three weeks he realised that it’s a football club that wants to go places, a football club that wants to progress. I think he really bought into it and in the end was fantastic for us.
‘He’s not ready for Pompey’s first-team yet, but is ready to be competitive.
‘Alex has all the attributes you need – and we say that about a lot about young players – but not only has he the attributes, he also possesses the mental capacity to understand what is required.
‘A lot of lads don’t understand what they need to do to progress – they have the basic tools but do not know how to use them.
‘Whereas Alex is bright enough and intelligent enough to know what he needs to do to get better.
‘I would say at the moment he is probably ready for the National League South, but he just needs games.’
With Pompey’s goalkeeping situation uncertain, Bass will not be returning to the Raymond McEnhill Stadium this season.
Instead Claridge has moved to capture the Hawks’ Charlie Searle on a season-long loan.
He added: ‘I don’t think anybody saw getting Alex back as realistic.
‘With the state of play as regards to Portsmouth at this stage not having a goalkeeper, we have to make sure we can’t ourselves be left without a keeper at the start of the season.
‘There is no way they will loan him out until they have sorted things out matters goalkeeping-wise – and that will be too late for us.’