Ryan Clarke believes Oxford United will be in safe hands while he recovers from a foot operation as Max Crocombe prepares for a run in the side.
The surgery means the 32-year-old goalkeeper will be on the sidelines when the squad regroup for the first time later this week for fitness tests.
Clarke is expected to miss pre-season and could be on the sidelines for the first month of the new Sky Bet League Two campaign.
While U’s boss Gary Waddock will closely watch how Clarke’s recovery progresses, if a loan keeper is required for the opening games, it will be as a back-up to Crocombe.
The New Zealander, who turns 21 in the opening week of the season, has had to be patient.
After keeping three successive clean sheets at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, he did not play a minute of first-team football last season as Clarke excelled.
But United’s No 1 has the utmost confidence in his teammate.
Clarke said: “Max has got all the attributes to be a top keeper.
“He’s at an age now where he needs to be tested in pressure situations.
“It’s a good chance for him and he’s highly rated here.
“I hope he does brilliantly if he’s given the chance, because we want the club to have a good start.
“He’s been great for me since he’s come through.
“At the same time I will be looking to get fit, but I won’t take it for granted that I will get my place back.”
When it became clear last month the U’s No 1 needed an operation, Waddock quickly made it clear Crocombe, who played at the Under 20 World Cup for the Junior All Whites last summer, would fill the gap.
Clarke thinks his understudy would benefit from both the advance warning and the prospect of a prolonged run in the side.
He said: “If the manager has told him I think that’s a good situation for Max.
“It will be good for him to get his head round and he can fully concentrate on getting right for pre-season.
“It will give him a boost.”
UPDATE: Mayfair Road man appears in court on Barton murder charge as alleged victim is named as Wojciech Ryniak
11:04am Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAN has today appeared in court charged with murder after a man was found with chest injuries in Barton late on Tuesday night.
9:04am Saturday 25th April 2015
ONE man’s mission to get 200 more public defibrillators across Oxfordshire has smashed its target thanks to the Oxford Mail.
1:56pm Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAN has today appeared in court charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of a stun gun after an incident in Mayfair Road on Tuesday evening.
12:00pm Saturday 25th April 2015
WILD boar have been spotted in parts of Oxfordshire.
8:57am Saturday 25th April 2015
A CONSERVATION group has said historically important sections of The Randolph Hotel were left largely unscathed by last week’s major fire.
8:53am Saturday 25th April 2015
CYBER crime in Oxford is becoming so prevalent it is replacing traditional thefts, a police chief has said.
8:47am Saturday 25th April 2015
HUNDREDS of experienced postmasters will be lost as part of changes to our post offices, a union secretary has warned.
8:41am Saturday 25th April 2015
A MAJOR clean-up is under way to smarten up Oxford’s Gloucester Green bus station.
Kidlington man to lay wreath at Cenotaph to recognise Grandfather and Great-Uncle's Gallipoli sacrifice
8:33am Saturday 25th April 2015
ONE HUNDRED years ago Robin Atherton’s grandfather went into battle along with his twin brother – but only one of them survived the day.
8:30am Friday 24th April 2015
A BEDBLOCKING crisis in the county has forced health bosses to launch a week-long blitz.
7:07pm Friday 24th April 2015
POLICE officers have tonight returned to a house in Cowley after two arrests were made in the Barton murder investigations.
4:11pm Friday 24th April 2015
A MAN has been arrested after a woman was attacked at a house in Bicester.
3:19pm Friday 24th April 2015
A MISSING parrot has been found in Wallingford following a police appeal.
2:46pm Friday 24th April 2015
TRAINS are delayed between Oxford, London Paddington, Reading and Swindon after a vehicle struck a bridge at Pangbourne.
5:53pm Saturday 25th April 2015
5:02pm Saturday 25th April 2015
GOALS from Kemar Roofe and Danny Hylton saw Oxford United win their final home game of the season at a canter against Cambridge United.
9:30am Saturday 25th April 2015
Michael Collins expects a reminder of Oxford United’s heavy defeat at Cambridge United earlier in the season will be pinned up in the changing room to act as motivation ahead of their rematch today.
9:00am Saturday 25th April 2015
A minute's silence will be held at Oxford United before kick-off this afternoon to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Bradford City fire.
2:00pm Friday 24th April 2015
KEMAR Roofe has an added motivation to finish the season strongly with Oxford United – he has not given up hope of playing for West Bromwich Albion.