Danny Cowley discusses Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough's summer interest in Portsmouth's Alex Bass as keeper steps up return
Danny Cowley admits he was well aware of the Premier League and Championship interest Alex Bass attracted last summer as he steps up his injury rehabilitation.
The keeper is set to return to training on the grass next week after suffering a recurring leg break during an emergency loan at Southend in February.
Bass spent the second half of last season as first-choice stopper, with his eye-catching performances attracting interest from Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough during the summer transfer window.
However, the academy product was dropped after the opening day of the season. Bass shipped three first-half goals as Pompey needed penalties to beat League Two Stevenage in the Carabao Cup first round.
Craig MacGillivray was reinstalled as No1 and has remained ever-present during the latest League One promotion push.
Despite being out of work having parted company with Huddersfield, Cowley admits he and brother Nicky were well aware of potential suitors casting their eye over Bass in the summer.
Now the Pompey head coach is relishing having him back to full fitness.
Cowley said: ‘We watch a lot of football. Nicky has got an unbelievable talent to remember every footballer.
‘I'm a bit like Bobby Robson without the charisma and forget some names! Nicky has got a photographic memory and it's definitely a superpower.
‘When we see somebody we like, we keep an eye on them.
‘There was no surprise (he was linked with Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough). He had a brilliant season last year and then had a tough start to this season.
‘I watched the Stevenage game believe it or not but he was going to overcome that, no doubt.
‘That's the life and journey of a young player. Sometimes you have the troughs and then have to work away at being resilient and durable to come out of that.
‘The club is very lucky to have the goalkeepers we have and it's great we have so much competition. It's just a shame Alex has had a difficult season with injury.’
Although MacGillivray is firmly first choice and Exeter loanee Lewis Ward has served as back-up since arriving in January, Bass will be given a ‘clean slate’ to win a starting spot.
Cowley added: ‘Alex just has to fight and make sure that we layer his training according to get him back to his best.
‘When he's back to his best, he has to wait for his opportunity and take his opportunity.
‘The great thing for Alex is it's a clean slate and we'll pick what we see.
‘It's a great opportunity and we're really looking forward to having him back because it's like a new signing.’
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