A Portsmouth first-team stalwart at 21 - and Alex Bass is relishing rare start against Crawley
Highly-regarded Alex Bass is relishing a rare Pompey outing to deliver a reminder of his prodigious talent.
The goalkeeper is something of a first-team stalwart, despite aged 21 and having made four career appearances for the Blues.
Since handed involvement in the 2014 pre-season as a 16-year-old under Andy Awford, the Eastleigh youngster has been a regular presence on the bench.
Now, following Craig MacGillivray’s Scotland call-up, Bass has been given a start against Crawley in the Leasing.com Trophy.
Tonight’s Fratton Park encounter represents a first appearance since a January 2-0 victory at Southend in the same competition.
And he’s cherishing the opportunity to sample first-team match action.
Bass said: ‘Obviously I have bided my time and been on the bench for a good couple of seasons now.
‘I’ve been a bit unfortunate in some cases, last season I tried to go out and get some games to aid my development, but there were injuries and it didn’t quite work out.
‘I’ve been on the bench a hell of a lot of times. There’s nothing better than being out on the pitch, you train every day to play at Fratton Park – and I can’t wait.
‘I’ve been in this situation for years now, I was on the bench at 16 and that was a mad experience for me. To still be in and around it now, it feels like ages.
‘But I’m only 21 and you look around the country and there aren’t too many goalkeepers playing regular football at that age.
‘I would love to have played some more games, but with every chance I get this season, whenever it’s going to be, I’m determined to take it.
‘I haven’t really played anywhere near the amount of games the other Pompey lads around my age have.
‘But I know that, if all goes well with injuries, I could be playing into my late 30s. That’s the way you have to think about it, I have a lot of time in my career.’
Bass was first involved with Pompey’s first-team through a substitute appearance in a pre-season friendly at Bognor in July 2014.
He has been a regular back-up to a string of senior keepers ever since.
He added: ‘I came in as first-year scholar and during the second week the manager, Andy Awford, said “You are coming to Five Lakes in Colchester with us for the pre-season tour".
‘I thought “What’s going on there?”. I was 16 going on a first-team pre-season tour!
‘I enjoy it, just being around and involved, you know you've always got to keep working hard because that chance could come at any time.’