The key attribute that’s led to Crystal Palace and Middlesborough’s interest in Portsmouth keeper Alex Bass
That’s the verdict of Fratton legend Alan Knight, who admitted the keeper may be tempted to grasp the chance to move higher up the pyramid.
Bass enjoyed a superb breakthrough campaign at Fratton Park.
The academy graduate hasn’t looked back since and made 25 appearances in total last season, recording eight clean sheets.
But Knight, who made 801 outings in goal for the Blues, believes the 22-year-old’s distribution is the key factor why Palace and Boro admirers.
He said: ‘It would be exciting for anyone to have Premier League and Championship clubs allegedly interested in you.
‘Bassy is a level-headed lad and his advisors will tell him what is best. I’m not surprised by the speculation.
‘As a young, up-and-coming goalkeeper, you do want to test yourself at the highest level.
‘He’s not played a truckload of games yet and there’s always the fear of disappearing at a club higher up.
‘That is the chance you take, though, and it’s about being confident in your own ability then you need a bit of luck.
‘I think the world of the kid and he has got a chance to go all the way, especially with his distribution.
‘That’s the way the game has gone now. He is a good shot-stopper, which we’ve seen, but his distribution is the thing that makes him stand out and that’s why clubs will be interested.
‘There is a timing issue these days. How long do you stay playing at League One level?
‘I’d love it for him to climb the leagues with us but there is a window of opportunity and sometimes you have to grasp that.
‘That’s where the luck side of things will come into it.’
Knight stressed, however, that if Bass were to depart the south coast then he needs to join a side where he’ll play regular football.
If it was to be Palace then a loan switch elsewhere for a season to continue his development – like Matt Clarke moving to Derby from Brighton after leaving PO4 – could be crucial.
Knight added: ‘Middlesbrough’s perhaps not as attractive as other clubs but if he were to go to Palace or a Premier League team, would he be playing first-team football?
‘That’s what he needs to play. I don’t see the point in him going from Pompey’s first team to Palace’s under-23s.
‘Sometimes you have to take that leap of faith, though, and if it works for the club and Bassy then good luck.
‘Maybe they’d loan him out like what happened with Matty to get him up to speed because it the Championship is another level and then the Premier League is.’
However, Knight believes that the former Torquay loanee will improve for the experience.
He said: ‘I know Bassy took a bit of stick for the goals in the play-offs but he will learn from it and make him a better keeper going forward.
‘I wouldn’t say they were out-and-out blunders because you see Premier League keepers making those mistakes week in, week out.
‘As long as he learns from that and the next time he’s in that situation then he’ll deal with them.’