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.”
6:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
In a special report, the Oxford Mail exclusively reveals how the owners of Oxford Stadium were still making a profit before closure despite claims it wasn't "viable"
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
THE mother and aunt of Prime Minister David Cameron have backed the campaign to save the county’s children’s centres.
5:10pm Tuesday 9th February 2016
HE'S the underdog with the overbite who has been described as the world's ugliest dog.
7:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A TEACHER recruitment crisis affecting the ability of schools to improve standards and create stability for pupils is “worse than ever,” it is claimed.
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
CONCERNS have been raised for low-income people in Oxford’s five towers who bought their homes under right to buy and may have to shell out £50,000 for repairs.
6:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A COLLEGE and developer have been accused of “naked greed” after slashing a cash contribution towards social housing for a controversial student development by more than £1m.
9:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
JAMES WALL was one of more than 10,000 Oxford United fans who let themselves go as the final whistle sounded against Millwall and their team reached Wembley.
8:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
LIFE is slowly getting back to normal for a pair of pals dubbed heroes after they foiled a knife-wielding man at a supermarket in Rose Hill.
10:58am Saturday 6th February 2016
Police are hunting a white van following a hit and run in Wallingford.
8:00am Saturday 6th February 2016
SAINSBURY’S is set to open a new store in central Oxford, it has emerged.
12:20pm Saturday 6th February 2016
Two missing Oxford teenagers have been found safe.
8:30am Saturday 6th February 2016
THE “invaluable” Phone Friends scheme for the elderly in Oxfordshire is at risk after the county council pulled its funding.
6:00am Saturday 6th February 2016
A TERMINALLY ill Oxford United fan who lives in the USA says “it will mean everything” for him to cheer on the U’s at Wembley.
6:30am Saturday 6th February 2016
BOOK lovers in Oxfordshire are turning to electronic tomes more and more, according to latest figures from our libraries.
9:45pm Tuesday 9th February 2016
SAM Slocombe made two costly errors as Oxford United were denied victory by a last-minute Mansfield Town goal at the Kassam Stadium tonight.
9:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A recharged Danny Hylton turned down a bid to move away from Oxford United so he could enjoy success with the club.
8:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
Michael Appleton sees the visit of Mansfield Town tonight as an opportunity for Oxford United to further cement a place in the top three.
5:43pm Monday 8th February 2016
OXFORD United expect to sell more than 5,000 Wembley tickets on the first day of going on sale.
4:00pm Monday 8th February 2016
OXFORD United have announced the rearranged dates for their away trip to Exeter City and home game against Dagenham & Redbridge in Sky Bet League Two.