THE TIME is right for Craig MacGillivray to shine.
That’s Kenny Jackett’s view after making the keeper his third signing of the summer.
And Jackett has confirmed it will be a straight battle between the former Shrewsbury man and Luke McGee to see who starts the season as first choice in goal.
MacGillivray yesterday sealed a two-year deal at Fratton Park after his contract at New Meadow came to the close.
The former Walsall man has had to be patient at his two previous clubs, with hugely-promising keepers in front of him.
Neil Etheridge was the first choice at the Bescot Stadium, but will next season be playing in the Premier League after moving to Cardiff.
And Manchester United’s highly-regarded keeper, Dean Henderson, was in front of MacGillivray after he joined Shrewsbury last summer, with the England under-21 international moving there on loan.
Jackett has been watching the 25-year-old’s progress, however, and feels he is now hitting a stage of his career where he could really emerge.
The manager said: ‘He’s someone I’ve watched since his Walsall days and then on to Shrewsbury. At 25, he’s now ready for a chance His best years are just coming.
‘And, for us, he produces some good competition with Luke McGee.
‘I do feel he’s a player who’s coming into his time now and has a very good future ahead of him.
‘I think he’s ready to go now.
‘People come through at different times. He’s been a little bit unlucky and he’s been behind good goalkeepers in Etheridge and Henderson.
‘But when he has played he’s played very well – you can ask anyone at Shrewsbury and they will tell you that.
‘He made 14 appearances last season which is not an inconsequential figure and those performances were very good.
‘At different times he got in and was unlucky to be left out, but (Dean) Henderson is a very strong keeper.
‘I feel that, for Craig, he’s champing at the bit for a chance and an opportunity.
‘Portsmouth are going to benefit from that.’
Jackett recruited Stephen Henderson in January to vie with McGee for the No1 shirt.
A thigh injury on his first appearance ended his season, however.
The boss is pleased he now has two keepers who will spar for the chance to start the first league game on August 4.
He added: ‘We were very unlucky with (Stephen) Henderson last season.
‘We want to provide good competition for Luke McGee.
‘I’ve had my eye on Craig for a little while and he played against us earlier in the season. He’s a very confident northern lad who wants to come to Portsmouth and fight for his place. He’s desperate for a chance to play and do it in the first team.
‘The two of them will fight it out in pre-season and improve our goalkeeping position.
‘Both of them will start equal in pre-season.
‘That’s the situation with our goalkeepers.’
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