The Portsmouth goalkeeping dilemma Kenny Jackett may have this summer

It’s a departure both parties appear to want this summer.

Friday, 5th July 2019, 2:00 pm
Updated Monday, 11th November 2019, 10:57 am

After signing as Pompey’s first-choice keeper two years ago for an undisclosed, Luke McGee is keen for pastures new.

The Spurs Academy graduate is being left behind for next week’s pre-season trip to Dublin, with boss Kenny Jackett insisting he only needs two keepers in attendance.

That’s despite McGee, Craig MacGillivray and Alex Bass all travelling to Cork last summer.

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MacGillivray's arrival 12 months ago saw him immediately leapfrog the 2017-18 No1 stopper, featuring in every League One game last season.

That demoted McGee to the substitutes' bench, with his five appearances all arriving in cup competitions.

A wrist injury the 23-year-old picked up in December prompted Alex Bass’ recall from Torquay to deputise – and he remained in that position even when McGee regained full fitness.

Luke McGee is keen to depart Pompey this summer. Picture: Habibur Rahman

MacGillivray will undoubtedly be first choice again next term after a fine maiden Fratton Park campaign which yielded 18 clean sheets.

And with McGee hoping he’ll be playing regular football elsewhere, Jackett now has a quandary: does he send Bass out on loan or keep him playing back-up to MacGillivray?

Bass is held in high regard by the Blues boss, goalkeeping coach John Keeley and his team-mates.

The academy graduate has underlined his quality in reserve games, while Jackett’s been impressed how he’s started to physically fill his 6ft 3in frame.

Alex Bass during pre-season training. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The boss would have no qualms keeping him around to stay behind MacGillivray in the pecking order for next term’s promotion push.

Jackett would have a reliable deputy at his disposal and would give him opportunities in the Checkatrade Trophy and Carabo Cup to impress.

But that lack of regular game time could potentially lead to Bass’ development plateauing, stunting his progress and reaching the sort of levels he’s capable of achieving.

For the best part of one-and-a-half seasons, the 21-year-old has been starved of action.

Not since that 2016-17 campaign when on loan at Salisbury has Bass played week in, week out.

The following season, he was second fiddle to McGee.

Even when Stephen Henderson was brought in to allow Bass to head out on loan in January 2018, a thigh injury the Dubliner suffered on debut put paid to designs on sending the former Wyvern College pupil out.

Bass did get another opportunity for consistent minutes at Torquay last term.

But a hamstring injury restricted him to eight appearances before he was recalled to Pompey following McGee’s setback.

Reserve and cup games can only take a player so far. Competing for three points is how they properly develop.

The caveat to Bass heading out temporarily means Jackett would have to identify someone who’d be happy to sit on the bench behind MacGillivray every week.

They don’t come cheap.

Yet Pompey surely owe it to Bass to get him out on loan and help him blossom.