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.”
8:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
ROAD safety campaigners say they are “astonished” that drivers with as many as 51 points on their licences are still allowed on the county’s roads.
9:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
YOUNGSTERS at an Oxfordshire primary school could finally be able to tuck into their hot dinners in a dining hall after the Prime Minister came to their aid.
8:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
BAYS in Frideswide Square will be “tweaked” after bus companies complained they were too small to safely accommodate vehicles.
6:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
IT HAS called Cowley Road home for the past 90 years, but on Monday family-run Oxford timber merchant W G Powell will close its doors for the last time.
6:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
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12:09pm Friday 27th November 2015
TWO men have been arrested in connection with the murder of Kerry Reeves, 26, in Abingdon earlier this month.
7:00am Friday 27th November 2015
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9:00am Friday 27th November 2015
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8:30am Friday 27th November 2015
INTERNET users believe some people in Oxfordshire will still struggle to get superfast broadband despite £5.6m of new funding to roll it out to 4,600 homes and businesses.
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NEIGHBOURS have branded the £1,500 fine dished out to a boutique hotel owner over clay pigeon shooting “pathetic”.
6:30am Friday 27th November 2015
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8:30am Thursday 26th November 2015
WORK to electrify the railway into Oxford has been set back four years, throwing the redevelopment of the city’s station into doubt.
5:52pm Thursday 26th November 2015
A MAN wanted by police on recall to prison was last seen in Banbury and has links to Oxford.
3:42pm Sunday 29th November 2015
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12:12pm Sunday 29th November 2015
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7:00pm Saturday 28th November 2015
DANNY Hylton came off the bench to net a winner which sent Oxford United top of Sky Bet League Two.
5:41pm Saturday 28th November 2015
9:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
Joe Skarz is gunning for Oxford United to finish the job on what they see as the most challenging block of fixtures in the season with a win at Hartlepool United this afternoon.