Danny Cowley addresses Alex Bass' Portsmouth first-team chances next season amid ongoing Bradford audition piece

Danny Cowley insists he retains an ‘open mind’ over Alex Bass’ credentials to be Pompey number one next season.

Thursday, 24th March 2022, 4:55 am

The Blues will be challenged to reassess their goalkeeping options this summer when Gavin Bazunu returns to parent club Manchester City.

The Republic of Ireland international has proven an outstanding loan recruit, featuring 38 times and significantly adding to an already flourishing reputation.

That puts the first-team spotlight back on Alex Bass, who in January moved on loan to Bradford for match minutes to aid his development.

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Although totalling 41 appearances for Pompey, he needs to persuade Cowley that he warrants regular football next term in place of the impressive Bazunu.

In the meantime, the 23-year-old’s Valley Parade progress is being monitored by the Blues’ head coach, having now played 13 times for the League Two club.

But Cowley is not yet ready to clarify Bass’ selection standing for what will need to be a sustained promotion challenge in 2022-23.

He told The News: ‘For us, it’s always to keep an open mind about next season.

Alex Bass has made 41 appearances for Pompey, but has been behind Gavin Bazunu this season and is currently on loan to Bradford. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages

‘The main focus for us with Alex at the moment is just to play regularly, get a real run of games and try to find that rhythm which will allow him to be the goalkeeper we all know he is capable of.

‘We watch back all of his Bradford clips and games, we’re in regular contact with Alex and continue to monitor his progress.

‘But it’s great to see him playing because he has been short of football – starved of football, if you like.

‘With every professional footballer, you are under the microscope every single day. Your job is to perform day in, day out at training and then on match-days.

Alex Bass has made 13 appearances for Bradford so far, keeping two clean sheets in his last three outings. Picture: Thomas Gadd

‘Ultimately, that’s what Alex is doing – and I know he is going to be much better for that run of games.’

Bass has turned out seven times for Pompey this season, giving the Cowley’s a first glimpse of his potential.

The goalkeeper was sidelined with a broken leg upon their March 2021 arrival, ensuring it wouldn’t be until pre-season before they saw him in match situations.

He has subsequently featured twice in League One when Bazunu has been away on international duty, most recently November's 1-0 win at Wycombe.

Now Bradford are providing a stage for his talents, although there has been a change of manager, Mark Hughes last month unveiled following Derek Adams’ departure.

Regardless, Bass has remained an ever-present, while keeping two clean sheets in his last three matches.

Cowley added: ‘We said we’d let Alex have 10 games to settle in before we started to really assess how well he was doing.

‘As it has turned out, the 11th and 12th games were both clean sheets, which is good, and we’ll continue to monitor him.’

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