POMPEY will aim to send Alex Bass out on loan next season.
And Kenny Jackett has backed the Blues youngster to become a top keeper after he was handed a new deal.
Pompey have taken up a club option to give the academy graduate a fresh contract, as they announced their retained list yesterday.
It ties down the 20-year-old in a campaign in which he has operated as Luke McGee’s understudy.
With a lack of alternative options, Bass was kept at the club after they initially considered sending him out on loan.
Jackett, who is looking to bring in an experienced keeper, explained that would be his preference moving forward.
The boss said: ‘It’s been a frustrating season for Alex to a degree.
‘He’s had to play second to fiddle to McGee.
‘Stephen Henderson was brought in halfway through the season so he could go out on loan and get some experience.
‘Obviously, the injury changed that and then we didn’t have time to react.
‘That would be the ideal (to go out on loan). I think he needs that. He’s improved but it comes down to games.
‘I’ve got a lot of time for him and I think he will continue to get physically stronger. When he does I think he’s going to be one hell of a keeper.’
Bass picked up a clean sheet last weekend on his league bow, a fact Jackett believes will lift his spirits.
He added: ‘I was very pleased with him against Peterborough.
‘It was good for him to get a taste in a win with a clean sheet. That should give him confidence going into the summer.
‘He has a good temperament and, as he gets stronger, he’ll improve.’
– JORDAN CROSS