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.”
12:40pm Monday 5th October 2015
A FATHER accused of shaking his 11-week-old baby to death has been cleared of murder.
1:21pm Monday 5th October 2015
The brother of Oxford United striker James Roberts has died after being involved in a car accident on Saturday night.
12:03pm Monday 5th October 2015
THE A34 in South Hinksey is currently partially blocked due to a broken down tipper-truck.
11:50am Monday 5th October 2015
PARTS of Oxfordshire are due to be hit by heavy rain later today, according to the Met Office. A severe weather warning has been issued by the agency for the South East, which will be in place from 12pm until 10pm today. It has been forecast that some areas will see more than 15 mm of rain in an hour, with overall totals more than 40 mm in several hours. Small patches of localised flooding and disruptions to transport are also possible. A Met Office spokesman said: "A very complex area of low pressure will bring warm, moist air northwards into Britain. There is a developing signal for heavy rain to affect some southeastern parts of England later on Monday. "Some minor disruption due to flooding is likely, with an additional risk of some very isolated more substantial impacts."
8:30am Monday 5th October 2015
A FAMILY stole thousands of pounds of benefits from a man with severe learning disabilities while forcing him to do menial and manual labour for £5 a day, a court heard.
7:00am Monday 5th October 2015
GREY pavements will be transformed with striking street art as one woman hopes to chalk up yet another successful art event this weekend.
4:01pm Sunday 4th October 2015
TRAFFIC is heavy on the A34 between the Wendlebury interchange and Pear Tree Roundabout after an earlier crash.
8:30am Saturday 3rd October 2015
A YOUNG woman who fell in the river after a seizure on her way to work has thanked two boaters for saving her life.
12:26pm Saturday 3rd October 2015
An e-fit has been released today of a man police want to speak to after two children were sexually assaulted in Harwell.
11:45am Saturday 3rd October 2015
A woman was taken to hospital after a car and lorry crashed on the Eastern Bypass.
9:00am Saturday 3rd October 2015
PROTESTERS against a development that would double the size of Woodstock have said the war is still on.
8:00am Saturday 3rd October 2015
OXFORDSHIRE’S hospitals must keep driving up standards despite being awarded a national vote of confidence by the health sector regulator.
6:30am Saturday 3rd October 2015
FOR more than nine months workers have been busy behind boards transforming Frideswide Square.
6:00am Saturday 3rd October 2015
FEMALE football fever took hold of the city as nearly 30 schools participated in a festival celebrating the sport.
12:30pm Monday 5th October 2015
LIAM Sercombe declared he is having the time of his footballing life at Oxford United after scoring two late goals in a 3-1 victory at Accrington Stanley.
8:30am Monday 5th October 2015
MICHAEL Appleton hailed an “almost perfect” week as Oxford United added a 3-1 win at Accrington Stanley to their midweek victory at York City.
7:30am Monday 5th October 2015
OXFORD United’s clinical edge in the final third was key to their victory, according to beaten Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman.
12:00pm Sunday 4th October 2015
SEE the key moments as Oxford United won for the second time on the road in the space of five days with a 3-1 success at Accrington Stanley.
4:57pm Saturday 3rd October 2015
LIAM Sercombe scored twice in the final 11 minutes to give Oxford United their second away victory in five days.