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Sunderland Unveil New Signing Alex Bass

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Is Alex Bass any good? Pompey podder Andy gives the lowdown on Sunderland's new goalkeeper!

Sunderland brought 24-year-old goalkeeper Alex Bass into the fold this week on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee from Pompey - to find out what he’s like, we chatted to Andy Mitchelmore from PO4Cast!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

RR: So… Alex Bass - is he any good?

Andy (PO4Cast): Starting with the big question!

Alex Bass has shown on his day that he’s a fantastic shot stopper. The first time he really caught my attention was a Football League Trophy at Oxford in 2019 where he essentially kept Pompey in the game with one of the best performances I’ve seen from a keeper in years before we won a penalty shootout.

This obviously caught Kenny Jackett’s eye too as he featured a lot more around the first team after this. Alex is extremely young and I’m hoping to see that he has a really high ceiling as he develops through his career. During his loan at Bradford City, it seems like he had some fantastic games and some howlers, with not a huge amount in between…

RR: This one came a bit out of left field… are you surprised that he’s ended up at Sunderland?

Andy (PO4Cast): Honestly? Yes. It wasn’t a huge surprise that Alex left the club with our recent transfer activity but signing for Sunderland absolutely seemed to come out of nowhere. Not really sure where that came from.

RR: He signed a three year deal with an option of a fourth, and the contract length coupled with the fact we paid a fee suggests that this was well thought out. What are your thoughts on the deal and the faith placed in him by SAFC?

Andy (PO4Cast): If I’m honest, I think a Championship club offering a three-year deal with an option for a fourth to any player who has been playing only in Leagues One and Two is slightly surprising, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work out in this case.

He’s a generally well-liked player in the fan-base at Pompey, so it’s honestly nice to see this amount of faith placed in him by a club in the tier above.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Checkatrade Trophy Final Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

RR: He’s still very young. Do you think his best years are still ahead of him?

Andy (PO4Cast): Yes. As I mention below, the areas I would say are weaker in Alex’s game are those that tend to improve most as a keeper progresses through their career.

There have been some fantastic performances from Alex at Pompey but the consistency hasn’t quite been there yet.

I do think this will come as he moves through his career.

RR: Are you disappointed that he’s left the club?

Andy (PO4Cast): I believe that Alex was the longest serving player on the books at Portsmouth and has always had a good relationship with the fans.

He took the #1 shirt from Craig MacGillivray under Kenny Jackett for a while, but we all know how things ended with KJ, and Alex was never really the favourite under the Cowleys.

This time last year, we were wondering who would actually have the #1 jersey between Bass and Bazunu and it was unfortunate for Alex that Bazunu came in and just stole the show throughout his loan spell at the Blues.

We won’t talk about where he signed after us…

Oxford United v Portsmouth FC - Sky Bet League One Play Off Semi-final 2nd Leg Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

RR: I saw some comments that it’s been suggested his style doesn’t really fit with what the Cowley’s are after - is that fair?

Andy (PO4Cast): Yes – absolutely. As you probably will have seen – the Cowleys want a keeper comfortable with the ball at his feet to essentially start attacks on the ground from the back.

This just isn’t Alex Bass’s strength at this moment in time. He’s a fantastic shot stopper but having watched Gavin Bazunu for a season – it’s clear that Bazunu was superior in this aspect of the game.

I think if another manager in Kenny Jackett’s mould had come into the club, the story for Alex at Pompey may have ended differently.

RR: What are his biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Andy (PO4Cast): Key strength would generally be shot stopping.

Weaknesses are probably traits that come naturally to players as they get more game time under their belts. Alex’s split-second decision making can be questionable at times (a couple of horrible moments at on loan at Bradford City this season), and I’ve always felt that Alex could use being more of a physical presence.

Although he is over 6ft tall, I’ve felt he is bullyable under high balls/set pieces.

These are both traits that can be worked on, though.

As a natural shot stopper, he’s an excellent addition to the squad.

Sunderland Unveil New Signing Alex Bass Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

RR: How is he thought of by the Pompey fans? I noticed a pretty respectful reaction to his departure on social media…

Andy (PO4Cast): Yeah he’s honestly pretty popular in the Pompey fan-base.

As an extremely long-serving player on the books at Pompey, I think we all know that if things were any different, he wouldn’t want to be leaving us.

A lot of fans just assumed Alex would step up in to the first team longer-term after he stepped in to the first team for a while under KJ when Craig MacGillivray was injured, and Alex made himself un-droppable for a while.

I don’t think you’ll find many Pompey fans who don’t want to see him make a success of himself in the next stage of his career.

RR: What would you say to any SAFC fans who aren’t sure about this signing?

Andy (PO4Cast): I would honestly say that you should be looking at Bassy as a long-term prospect. He isn’t likely to suddenly make the jump from a starting League Two keeper at Bradford to making a huge mark on the Championship with you.

He comes across as a genuinely nice bloke and I don’t think he’d have moved so far from home down south if he didn’t see this working out. Give him time to settle in and build his game and you’ll hopefully see a really good keeper on your books for the future.

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