Why it could be 28th time lucky in Pompey goalkeeper hunt
David Forde marked his Pompey bow with an encouraging display and a clean sheet.
Now the Fratton faithful will be hoping for stability at last in a position riddled with short-termism since the era of David James.
The Blues are entering their seventh season following the summer 2010 departure from the Premier League.
It’s a period which has seen the employment of 28 different goalkeepers – at an average of four every campaign.
Considering Jamie Ashdown and Paul Jones have both enjoyed ever-present seasons during that time, that alarming statistic could be considerably greater.
With three relegations, seven managers and various owners, a large turnover of players is to be expected during the ongoing pursuit of success.
Yet the issue of goalkeeper has proven a headache during several regimes, including Paul Cook’s Fratton Park time.
Last season six different stoppers were named in match-day squads over its duration, with Alex Bass unused.
Throw in Michael Poke’s three pre-season games before joining Eastleigh in January and the tally was seven.
This summer has seen triallists Michael Crowe, Eric Grimes and Chris Konopka seeking to impress in action, in addition to Bass and Jones.
Against Bristol City on Saturday, the Blues fielded their sixth different goalkeeper of the summer in their eighth and final friendly.
On paper, the Millwall veteran is an excellent signing, definitely easing supporters’ nerves heading into their latest League Two promotion attempt.
Having cast his eye over 12 keepers in first-team fixtures and friendlies since arriving in May 2015, Cook is hoping to finally have the solution.
Since departing the top flight, his predecessors have suffered similar frustration over the recurring problem.
Steve Cotterill arrived in June 2010 and for his opening four friendlies utilised Jon Stewart and Liam O’Brien.
Ashdown returned from injury to feature in all 50 of Pompey’s matches that season, with Darryl Flahavan the reliable substitute keeper.
During the 2011-12 campaign, Ashdown fought with Stephen Henderson for the role, before the latter was loaned to West Ham with the cash-strapped club desperate for a loan fee.
The following summer, Michael Appleton set about building a squad from scratch and Simon Eastwood, David Preece, Jordan Perez, Glenn Morris and Jordan Santiago were used in friendlies.
Mikkel Andersen arrived from Reading to start the League One campaign, vying with Eastwood, with a cameo from Alex Cisak and Phil Smith the bench back-up.
Back in League Two for 2013-14, Guy Whittingham added John Sullivan to Smith, but it was the loan signing of Trevor Carson which proved shrewd.
Next as permanent manager was Andy Awford, who recruited Jones and Poke, the former his undisputed number one.
However, injuries to Poke meant Bass, Peter Brezovan and David Cornell shared bench duties.
Now Forde has entered the building – with a stay hopefully longer than the agreed 12-month loan.