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.”
6:00am Saturday 10th October 2015
MUCH-NEEDED repairs to a special school in Blackbird Leys may lead to more closures over the next few days.
5:30am Saturday 10th October 2015
A “REMARKABLE” teenager whose battle with cancer inspired hundreds to raise funds for research has passed away.
3:37pm Friday 9th October 2015
A 19-year-old woman killed in a crash on the A40 this morning has been named locally as Katy Pancott.
7:00am Friday 9th October 2015
A MOTHER who received horrific burns in a caravan fire has spoken of her two-year fight to recover from her injuries.
6:24pm Friday 9th October 2015
A car crash has blocked part of the slip road off the A34 this afternoon.
6:26pm Friday 9th October 2015
AN AUTISTIC teenager who died during a stay at an NHS unit had been improving and making friends, an inquest heard.
4:23pm Friday 9th October 2015
A BROKEN-down caravan is causing traffic delays in Headington.
3:10pm Friday 9th October 2015
A "DANGEROUS" rapist and a second man who tried to damage his victims' character have been jailed.
4:07pm Friday 9th October 2015
THE WOMAN who fatally stabbed a 23-year-old man in her Banbury home feared she had "ruined" her life, a court was told.
6:52am Friday 9th October 2015
A 23-YEAR-OLD man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a 19-year-old woman was killed in a crash on the A40 this morning.
9:00am Friday 9th October 2015
WHILE no hall of residence room is complete without a mug tree, students in Oxford are quite hung up on how to fill their wardrobes.
8:00am Friday 9th October 2015
MUSICIANS had their hopes for a new concert hall in Oxford dashed after a study said it would not be successful.
6:30am Friday 9th October 2015
FRIENDS of a mum who was in a coma for five months after suffering horrific burns have praised her strength for pulling through.
6:00am Friday 9th October 2015
A FILM aiming to break down the stigma surrounding homeless people in Oxfordshire will premiere tonight at an Oxford cinema.
6:38pm Friday 9th October 2015
CALLUM O'Dowda has continued his strong start to the season by opening his goalscoring account for Republic of Ireland Under 21s tonight.
2:00pm Friday 9th October 2015
WHILE teammates higher up the pitch have grabbed the limelight in recent games, John Lundstram has quietly made himself at home in a yellow shirt.
12:00pm Friday 9th October 2015
CALLUM O’Dowda is hoping a first derby experience is just the start of a memorable week.
9:30am Friday 9th October 2015
OXFORD United are optimistic about extending the loan spell of winger Jordan Graham after holding discussions with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
9:20am Friday 9th October 2015
FIGURING out which Oxford United players are physically ready for selection against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow should be straightforward.