Date: 11th April 2017 at 2:07pm
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Millwall keeper David Forde is coming towards the end of his season-long loan with Portsmouth, in fact his contract with the Lions too.

Does the 37 year old still have a part to play in Neil Harris’ future plans at the Den? The former Republic of Ireland international keeper is keeping his options open on a return to a club he’s served since 2008.

But the immediate focus of the loan Pompey keeper is to secure them promotion, as our friends at Vital Pompey inform us with the following.

On-loan Pompey keeper David Forde hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of a return to parent club Millwall at the end of the season.

Given the fact Forde, 37, was allowed to leave Millwall for this season-long spell at Fratton Park, especially at his age and with his contract expiring in the summer, a playing future at the Den wouldn’t seem too likely… would it?

Reflecting on his time at Fratton, so far, Forde said he’s ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his stint with Pompey – now he’s focused on seeing through the job and helping the Blues into league one, a division Millwall are looking to get out of via the play-offs.

Forde told London News Online: ‘I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It has been a great move for me, especially on the football front. We’ve only got five games to go and are eight points clear of the next team. If we maintain the form we have shown over recent months there is no reason we can’t achieve our goals. I’ve kept 18 clean sheets, which is a fantastic return. I set off at the start of the season with 20 as a target. It’s been great to get back playing and get into my groove.’

Forde said he was approach by ‘a few clubs’ but none felt like the ‘no-brainer’ of Pompey when that opportunity came alone. He also likened the challenge to the one he first had with the Lions.

Adding: ‘There were a few clubs who came in for me but I didn’t feel they were actually right. Once I got the phonecall from Pompey it was a no-brainer. It reminded me of the challenge when I first went to Millwall – I could see the potential. Portsmouth are a club which should at least be in the Championship. We are getting 18,000 for home games, which is phenomenal. I don’t think you’d get many clubs in the country achieving that.’

His 1st team chances were limited last season but Forde – having lost the no.1 spot to Jordan Archer – insisted he was ‘always committed to Millwall’ and hadn’t actively sought a move away from the Den during pre-season.

But the invitation from Pompey in late July ‘stimulated’ the former Republic of Ireland international and he took it.

Yes, Forde’s had his critics – I’m NOT his greatest fan, but as previously said I can appreciate what he brings to the team – but, with Paul Cook branding him a colossus, this didn’t stop him being named as the keeper in the league two team of the year.

A first involvement in such a team has been ‘bittersweet’ for the aging Forde, who insists he’s in no hurry to quit – citing the likes of former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Saar and Pompey’s own David James as keepers who carried on well into their 40s.

‘It’s a great honour,’ added Forde on his team of the year selection. ‘It is a privilege because they are the ones you are playing with week in and week out. It is my first time being involved in a team of the season. It’s come late in my career, which makes it a bit bittersweet.’

Will he return to Millwall? Forde, who would have to be offered a new contract first, said the club will always be ‘close to his heart’ so it isn’t being ruled out. However, first and foremost he’s looking to get Pompey promoted:

‘I’m totally present in the moment. Millwall is very close to my heart. I love Millwall and I’m very appreciative about what they have given me through the years. They’ll always be an affection there. Whatever will be, will be. I’m concentrating on getting Portsmouth promoted and keeping more clean sheets. Barring a disaster, we should go up.’

There was one instance on Saturday where Forde, I think it was early in the game, definitely should have come for a cross – clearly the defence weren’t getting it – but he didn’t. A hesitancy left him in no-man’s land with a header looping onto the roof of the net, fortunately. Later in the game, in very similar circumstance, he did come and claimed… a keeper cannot always get it right but such inconsistencies could prove costly? Then again, let’s face it, if Forde was top, top level he wouldn’t be at Fratton would he?

I’m not opposed to a permanent stay but DO think Paul Cook probably has to look at bringing in another keeper? Well, unless Liam O’Brien – who I always liked when we first had him as a kid – is ready to step up? Alex Bass even?

Much like Forde, who possibly wouldn’t be my first choice in league one – assuming we make it, I’m opened minded about his future… are you?

Used courtesy of Vital Pompey.

Forde, a veteran of over 300 games for Millwall, wouldn’t be any more than a back up option if he did return – maybe even third choice now? That’s assuming he’s even offered, let alone accepts, a new deal at the Den?

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