Bass rewarded with new deal after claiming first-team spot

ALEX BASS has spoken of the ‘honour’ of being selected ahead of Scotland’s Craig MacGillivray in the Pompey first team after signing a new deal that will keep him at Fratton Park until 2023.

The 21-year-old was somewhat surprisingly selected for the league game on New Year’s Day at Gillingham, and is currently keeping MacGillivray out of the starting XI.

Bass admitted he expected this season to be another where his appearances would be limited to the Leasing.com Trophy, but his promotion this year has resulted in a three-game unbeaten run, and a new deal with the Blues.

“I thought it would be another season of playing in the Leasing.com Trophy games and gaining my experience from them,” said Bass, who has made 13 appearances since making his debut in a League Cup tie at Coventry in 2016.

“So I didn’t expect to get the opportunity I’ve been given, but I’m obviously very happy that I have and it’s an honour.

“The league matches are completely different and there’s extra pressure on them. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ones I’ve been involved in and there are hopefully many more.

“It’s a massive privilege to be in the team ahead of someone like Craig MacGillivray, who’s a very good keeper and has been away with Scotland. We work hard together as a unit and it just goes to show the strength in depth we’ve got in that department.”

Speaking about the new three-and-a-half-year contract, Bass added: “I’m delighted to be here for such a long time and it (new deal) came out of the blue. I certainly wasn’t expecting it.

“There are always areas where you can improve and I’m still only young, so I’m keen to continue developing. It’s been a good season for me, although it’s just the start and now I’m really looking to kick on in the second half.”

MacGillivray’s good form last season saw him rewarded by Scotland manager Steve Clarke with a call-up to the international squad. However, he has been linked with a move away from Portsmouth this month after being dropped by Kenny Jackett, with Rangers, Birmingham City and Huddersfield all believed to be interested in the 26-year-old former Shrewsbury player.

Meanwhile, fellow goalkeeper Luke McGee has joined Bradford City on loan until the end of the season.