In an interview with Portsmouth publication The News, Pompey boss Danny Cowley admitted he isn’t surprised both Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace are keeping an eye on goalkeeper Alex Bass.

The Portsmouth shot stopper started the campaign between the sticks, playing the club’s first game against Stevenage in the EFL Cup First Round. However, since then he has lost his place in the side to Craig MacGillivray.

Bass has had to resort to a back-up role this season, sitting games out as a substitute or because of injury. He joined Southend United in February on an emergency loan deal but suffered a broken leg on his debut. He has since returned to Portsmouth and is back in light training.

In the interview, manager Cowley wasn’t particularly shocked by the rumours linking Bass with a move to Championship side Middlesbrough or Premier League side Crystal Palace.

Dan Istitene/Getty Images Sport

“There was no surprise,” he said.

“He had a brilliant season last year and then had a tough start to this season.

“I watched the Stevenage game believe it or not but he was going to overcome that, no doubt. That’s the life and journey of a young player.

“The club is very lucky to have the goalkeepers we have and it’s great we have so much competition. It’s just a shame Alex has had a difficult season with injury.”

Bass could well return to the first-team fold at Fratton Park in the coming campaign with Cowley admitting he will be given a ‘clean slate’.

George Wood/Getty Images Sport

Both Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough expressed their interest in signing the player last summer, although no further developments have materialised since.

Boro are set to be looking to the market to sign a new number one. Marcus Bettinelli is returning to parent club Fulham after his loan spell and have identified Bass and Oxford United ‘keeper Jack Stevens as potential replacements.

Although a fresh move for Bettinelli could also be on the cards with his contract up at Craven Cottage in June, Neil Warnock’s side could snap him up for free.