Manchester City man ready to up the ante in Portsmouth battle to start

Gavin Bazunu is ready to intensify the battle between the Pompey sticks with a return to full fitness.

Saturday, 14th August 2021, 4:55 am

The keeper is challenging Alex Bass for the No1 spot as fans return to Fratton Park in earnest against Crewe Alexandra today.

Bazunu has been on the bench for the first two games as he completes his recovery from a quad injury.

Young academy keeper Toby Steward travelled to Fleetwood last weekend, in case the Manchester City man wasn’t deemed fit.

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But Bazunu is now firmly in contention, although Alex Bass has shone in his absence in the first two outings of the season.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley said: ‘Gavin hasn’t been fit to start, but he’s fit and available to start this Saturday.

‘He’s trained amazingly and is pushing hard. It’s great isn’t it?

Alex Bass, left, and Gavin Bazunu are vying for the No1 spot

‘Alex will be really appreciative of that, because he’s done really well, too.

‘We’ve just taken the long route with Gav, and that’s been the right thing to do.

‘It’s been really frustrating for him, but you sometimes have to make the right decisions - but he’s ready now.’

Much has been made of Bazunu’s comfort with the ball at feet being behind Cowley making his move for the Republic of Ireland international this summer.

But Cowley noted how his rival has shown excellent technical prowess, and is making strides to fit in with his game idea of being the first player helping his team build from the back.

He added: ‘Alex has been good and he’s worked really hard.

‘He’s a very good goalkeeper, good technically and very good with his hands, soft with his hands.

‘His handling has been immaculate and he’s still working on his positional play.

‘Where we play him is about 20m higher than where he’s played before, he tells us!

‘But we like him to be aggressive - he’s got boots on!

‘I’m one of those managers who like the formation to be 1-4-3-3 or 1-4-2-3-1.

‘The keepers are involved and they are so important to you.

‘He’s still working hard on creating angles and developing his vision to find the free man and space. That’s the bit he’s finding now.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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