Awford praise for rookie keeper

Alex Bass. Picture: Joe Pepler
Alex Bass. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Back spasm sidelines Poke
  • Awford believes Bass has benefitted from squad involvement
  • Newcomer Cornell now on Blues bench

Alex Bass’ stint with Pompey’s first-team squad has come to an end.

But Andy Awford believes the Academy youngster possesses a bright future as he continues to develop.

He’s a young lad who has done well in the reserves and is a good prospect.

Andy Awford

The teenager was a substitute keeper at Accrington and then against Luton following injury to Michael Poke.

Bass’ elevation to the bench was prompted by Poke’s back spasm problem, which has ruled him out for what, at present, is an indeterminable amount of time.

Bass also replaced Poke on the bench at the start of the campaign following a different injury.

Tuesday’s signing of Dave Cornell on a month’s loan from Swansea has now put Bass down the pecking order, with the Welshman on the bench for the midweek 2-2 draw with Cheltenham.

But Awford remains pleased with the progress of the Blues’ first-year scholar.

He said: ‘The day before the Accrington game, Pokey had a bit of a back spasm in training which is why we took Alex with us and then kept him involved against Luton.

‘Pokey’s injury is not long term and we are hoping it will settle down but he’s not fit at the moment and I don’t know how long he will be out.

‘Alex is a young lad who has done well in the reserves and is a good prospect.

‘But to throw him in at the moment if anything happens to Paul (Jones) would be a big decision.

‘Still, it has been a great experience for him to be involved in and around it and that is good for development.

‘Alex played a couple of times for us in pre-season when Pokey was injured and did well.

‘We also took him on tour but he would have gone anyway as you probably need more keepers for the amount of work involved.

‘In pre-season you need three keepers around for the training work and working with your goalkeeping coach when you are away, so it was the right thing to do.

‘Alex is a good player.’

Bass came off the bench to replace Jones against Bognor and Thurrock during Pompey’s early pre-season programme.

Another injury to Poke following the first match of the campaign saw him named on the substitutes’ bench against Peterborough and Cambridge.

The experienced Peter Brezovan arrived to serve as Jones’ back-up for the remainder of August until Poke was able to resume.

Cornell is a Wales under-21 international who is yet to play for Swansea’s first-team.