It has been 212 days but Portsmouth man is back on playing duty - with crucial advice from Danny Cowley
After 212 days, Alex Bass has returned to Pompey duty.
And Danny Cowley is backing the fit-again keeper to flourish in his battle with Gavin Bazunu for number-one spot.
The Academy graduate featured for the full 90 minutes of the Blues’ friendly defeat at QPR on Wednesday.
Representing the opening match of their pre-season schedule, it also marked Bass’ presence in a Pompey team for the first time in seven months.
The 23-year-old last turned out for the Blues in December, when Kenny Jackett’s side won 3-0 at Cheltenham in the Papa John’s Trophy.
What followed was two fractures of the same leg and a loan spell at Southend aborted through injury after 45 minutes of action.
Now Bass is fit and raring to go.
He told The News: ‘I said to Alex: “This is Gavin, this is your very, very best friend, he is going to fight and challenge you for the number one spot. As a consequence, he is going to make you better.
‘Then told him: “So shake his hand, welcome him, look after him, he will look after you, and you will both be better as a result”.
‘Alex is absolutely ready and delighted to be back playing again.
‘Even before the QPR game, he played in an 11 v 11 between our players. I believe that’s the first time he has turned out since playing a half for Southend against Salford in February.
‘Prior to that was a full game at Cheltenham in the Papa John’s Trophy in December, so he has been really starved of football.
‘It’s good to see Alex back on the grass and we are conscious of the fact that it has been nearly a year without much football.
‘It will be a gradual process for him to find his top form.’
With the 2-1 defeat to QPR taking place behind closed doors at their training ground, it is not yet clear why Bazunu did not feature.
Instead, Bass played the full match, with Bazunu watching from the sidelines.
And Cowley is revelling in having both fighting it out for selection.
He added: ‘I am careful with my words, but I genuinely believe they are two of the best young goalkeepers in Europe.
‘I am really looking forward to seeing them compete for the number one spot throughout pre-season.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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