Have Pompey solved their problem position?

Carl Baker has showcased what an important player he's going to be.
David Forde collects the ball in the game against Carlisle. Picture: Joe PeplerDavid Forde collects the ball in the game against Carlisle. Picture: Joe Pepler
David Forde collects the ball in the game against Carlisle. Picture: Joe Pepler

The attacking talent’s man-of-the-match performance against Carlisle underlined why Pompey pushed the boundaries of their budget to recruit the 33-year-old.

Milan Lalkovic has served notice of his potential, too, with flashes of trickery and examples of quality delivery on his weekend debut.

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Danny Rose has indicated he’s going to be a powerful foil to Michael Doyle in the middle of the park.

And you can see how important Noel Hunt’s presence on the pitch and in the dressing room could prove.

Matt Clarke’s permanent arrival could prove the most bankable, with Pompey fans eagerly anticipating his return to fitness.

Curtis Main, Michael Smith, Tom Davies and the rest all have a determination to show their worth to the cause following their arrivals.

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But Paul Cook’s most important piece of transfer business looks to have arrived fairly late in the day.

David Forde’s signing on a season-long loan from Millwall is the move which can make all the difference.

And it could just be set to put that problem goalkeeper position to bed once and for all.

Using five players in that position last term is an indication, as we all know, of what a headache it’s been.

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Brian Murphy, Paul Jones, Aaron McCarey, Ryan Fulton and Ryan Allsop were all utilised – but none of them really offered the sturdy assurance required from the role.

Murphy never really inspired confidence in the Pompey faithful but delivered an impressive return of 10 clean sheets from 20 appearances across the first half of last season.

McCarey produced two from six during his loan spell from Wolves, while Liverpool loanee Ryan Fulton showcased undoubted talent but kept one shut out from 13.

Allsop’s play-off performances underwhelmed and then there’s Jones, who never convinced Paul Cook he was his man.

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From the moment, last summer in Portugal, when Jones didn’t fancy joining his team-mates for a recovery session in the Atlantic Ocean a question mark was placed over his character.

Jones had looked to have played his way into contention, however, when a knee injury wrecked his progress.

Although, never having a personal issue with the 30-year-old, Cook had doubts about his ability to handle the weight of expectation which arrives between the sticks at Pompey.

It’s one thing looking good in front of 2,500 at Crawley, it’s quite another with the Fratton end behind you was the gist of the sentiment.

Well, Forde shouldn’t have any problem on that front.

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In May, the keeper was turning out for Republic of Ireland against Belarus in a European Championship warm-up.

In fact, Forde could count himself unlucky not to have gone to France.

And 339 appearances across eight years in the second and third tiers for Millwall speaks of man who’s been there, seen it and earned the No1 shirt.

Incoming goalkeeping coach John Keeley has made his influence felt with his arrival and that importance can’t be understated.

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In his spectating role against Carlisle, it was hard to judge Forde’s influence effectively. More insightful was his performance in the final warm-up game at Bristol City.

Forde came for everything throughout the 0-0 draw at Ashton Gate in a reassuring performance.

And equally encouraging was his the earache he gave his back four throughout.

Something we haven’t seen enough of.

Cook has been the first to admit he’s maybe not given the goalkeeping position the attention it deserves in the past.

The focus he’s given it with Forde hopefully now remedies that.