Ian Foster has tipped rookie keeper Alex Bass for a bright footballing future.
The second-year scholar has been a regular member of Paul Cook’s bench this season, serving as back-up.
Yet despite being present in 23 first-team squads during the campaign, the youngster has still to sample first-team football.
Regardless, Bass continues to develop at pace and turned in an impressive display for the reserves on Tuesday afternoon.
He produced a number of eye-catching saves in the 3-1 victory over Reading’s development squad before he was replaced by Nick Hall on the hour mark.
It was more evidence of a promising ability which is continuing to impress the Blues’ management.
And first-team coach Foster is delighted with the Academy youngster’s progression.
He said: ‘Bass is a young man who is going to get bigger and stronger.
‘He is athletic and the future looks bright for him if he keeps his head down and listens to the likes of Scott Bevan.
‘There is an awful long way to go for the boy but the one thing he has got is great athleticism.
‘He looks sharp every time I see him and he has a hunger for the game.
‘Against Reading he made two or three great saves in the first half.
‘He is going to get so much stronger and bigger and works really hard in the gym, showing the right appetite which could ensure he goes into a men’s team. He has also been training with the first team in the week, so has been part of that environment.
‘We have taken him away from Academy fixtures but to be fair they haven’t had many games since the Christmas period anyway.
‘And when Paul Jones was recently on the bench he turned out for the under-18s, so he has been involved in both camps.’
Injuries to Brian Murphy and Paul Jones on various occasions this term have ensured Bass has made match-day squads. He recently returned to the bench following Jones’ loan to Crawley in the search for match fitness following a knee ligament injury.
Meanwhile, Murphy is still awaiting the medical green light having sustained concussion against Ipswich.
Foster added: ‘Murphy is going through the return to play procedure for concussion.
‘I am not sure what the timescale is with him at the minute but he has been out on the grass training.’