David James’ Portsmouth feat that MacGillivray is challenged to match

It’s the Pompey challenge which has seen every goalkeeper fall short since David James.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:30 pm
David James was Pompey's number-one keeper for four successive seasons

Now Craig MacGillivray must succeed where predecessors have failed – to retain the number-one spot for a second season.

The 26-year-old is enjoying an impressive maiden campaign at Fratton Park for the League One leaders, this week earning a contract extension until 2021.

The Blues have struggled for consistent selection in their goalkeeping department ever since James departed in the summer of 2010.

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David James was Pompey's number-one keeper for four successive seasons

That is reflected by the remarkable statistic that since then, no stopper has managed to keep his place for a second term.

Certainly MacGillivray possesses an excellent opportunity, his ongoing performances suggesting a long-term presence irrespective of the Blues’ division next term.

Yet in the nine seasons following James’ departure, having spent four campaigns as the undisputed number one, nobody has managed to retain their place.

Having served as James’ long-time back up, Jamie Ashdown was promoted into the first-team under Steve Cotterill and featured in all 50 Blues matches in 2011-12.

That summer, Cotterill recruited Stephen Henderson. Despite Ashdown starting the opening nine matches of the 2011-12 campaign, he was replaced by the Irishman.

Henderson topped the charts with 27 games, although his first-team run was ended when cash-strapped Pompey had to send him to West Ham to earn a loan fee.

Following the post-administration clearing of the decks, Simon Eastwood was recruited from Bradford Park Avenue and played 30 matches in 2012-13.

The 2013-14 campaign began with fan ownership, although soon John Sullivan and Phil Smith were found badly wanting, with Trevor Carson’s loan arrival saving the day. 

Paul Jones was Andy Awford’s first signing as permanent manager in 2014-15 – and an ever-present in Pompey’s 52-game season.

Yet the arrival of Paul Cook resulted in Brian Murphy largely serving as his number one during a campaign which saw five keepers employed.

Cook’s second year at the helm saw David Forde recruited on a season-long loan from Millwall as the Blues claimed the League Two title.

With Cook and Forde leaving in the summer of 2017, new boss Kenny Jackett recruited Luke McGee for an undisclosed fee from Spurs.

The former Peterborough loanee went on to make 50 appearances, with Alex Bass denying him ever-present status in the league on the final day.

Which brings us to this term, with MacGillivray an ever-present in League One.

It remains to be seen whether he can be the goalkeeper to finally retain his place for a second season.