Portsmouth's two 'number-one keepers' giving selection conundrum ahead of Walsall trip - Joe Gallen

Kenny Jackett faces the challenge of choosing between two ‘number-one keepers’.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 8:00 am

That’s the verdict of Joe Gallen as the Blues prepare to defend their EFL Trophy title at Walsall tonight (7.45pm).

Pompey will name a strong line-up against the League Two outfit, with new signing Reeco Hackett-Fairchild to be involved in some capacity.

Meanwhile, the choice of goalkeeper will be an intriguing decision.

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In the Leasing.com Trophy this term, the youngster has been an ever-present, featuring in all four fixtures so far.

Gallen is tight-lipped over who will face the Saddlers – but insists he’s comfortable with either selection.

Craig MacGillivray and Alex Bass are battling it out for Pompey's number-one spot at present. Picture: PinPep Media/Joe Pepler

Gallen said: ‘I think the nicest way of putting it is we have two number-one keepers.

‘If someone said to me Craig was playing I would be thinking “Fine, we can win”. And if someone said it was Bass, then I would think “Fine, we can win”.

‘Sometimes it’s a bit like that. There are lots of players I personally trust – and I trust both of them. It’s up to Kenny who he picks and whoever plays I think fine, we can win.

‘They’re both really good keepers, it’s a strong position to be in, whoever gets to play it won’t worry me, there won’t be a lack of sleep.

‘I can’t answer the question (of who will play) because I don’t pick the team, but I think we have two very good ones,

‘From my point of view, either keeper will suffice.’

Bass had previously deputised for MacGillivray when injury and international duty dictated.

Now the 21-year-old has stepped up the competition following his shock call-up for the New Year’s Day draw at Gillingham.

Gallen added: ‘We’ve had a lot of games and it was a case of freshening the team up.

‘Gareth (Evans) came in and I thought played very well, he looked fresh because he hadn’t started for a long time. There's no reason why you can't freshen up the keeper too.

‘I thought Alex played very well – and would have expected Craig to play very well too.’