Manchester City loanee thriving under the pressure of battle to be Portsmouth's number one goalkeeper
Gavin Bazunu explained how the battle to be Pompey's number one goalkeeper is bringing out the best in him.
The Manchester City loanee has featured in the Blues' past three League One fixtures, keeping clean sheets in each of them.
Yet the Republic of Ireland international endured a frustrating pre-season period nursing a quad injury and was named on the bench as Alex Bass started the opening-day victory at Fleetwood.
Bazunu, 19, admitted there was very little he could do in his first few weeks at Fratton Park apart from making sure he got his injury recovery right.
But after his return to full fitness, the stopper thanked head coach Danny Cowley for his show of faith in him over Bass.
And Bazunu credited his rival for the No1 jersey for continuing to push him to the heights required to claim a starting spot.
He told The News: ‘It was disappointing not to be able to play from the start but I got my head down and made sure I got the injury right. I made sure I did that and I was just delighted the manager gave me the chance to play.
‘I’ve just been trying to repay and show what I can do ever since.
‘The competition element is very important because if you don’t have it you can find yourself slacking. It’s a lot harder to push yourself when you don’t have someone pushing you.
‘To have Bassy there training as hard as he does and playing as well as he did in pre-season, it really helped me to put my head down and focus.’
Bazunu has been part of a Blues team who have climbed to third in League One having won three and drawn the other of their opening four League One fixtures.
Much was made over a number of key Blues summer departures and the time Cowley has taken to find suitable replacements.
But Bazunu said he was in no doubt the squad assembled would be able to start the season well.
And the Irishman is intrigued to see who else might be acquired between now and the summer transfer window closing.
Bazunu added: ‘I’m not at all (surprised by the start). We’ve had a lot of new faces coming in but the quality we have in the team is definitely good enough and fully represents the results we’ve got.
‘I can’t see why we can’t push for promotion.
‘I don’t know what the manager has got planned over the next week in terms of bringing players in or leaving, but I’m very confident with the group of players we have now to keep moving up the table.’