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.”
9:00am Wednesday 28th January 2015
THE amount of compensation claimed by Oxfordshire drivers for pothole damage more than doubled in two years.
10:21pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
THE A40 is partially blocked at Wolvercote by up to 60 loose sheep.
8:43pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
THE 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral will be marked across Oxfordshire tomorrow.
8:39pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
A GIRL has claimed she had sex with a young man accused of grooming and exploiting teenagers in Banbury when she was 14 years old.
8:33pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
SNAKE fossils found in Oxfordshire have forced scientists to re-write their evolutionary story.
UPDATE:Services back to normal on Cotswold Line between Oxford and Worcester after person hit by train
4:30pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
Services have returned to normal between Oxford, Worcester and Hereford this afternoon after a person was hit by a train between Moreton-in-Marsh and Kingham.
6:45pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
SNOW is no longer expected to hit the majority of the county tomorrow morning.
5:52pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
Travellers left the Waitrose site in Botley Road today after being handed a 24-hour eviction notice.
5:49pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
THE jury in the trial of Jake Blakeley will continue considering its verdict on Tuesday.
1:19pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
Tesco Metro in Bicester will close on April 4.
12:43pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
TWENTY-seven people died in traffic collisions across the county last year.
12:00pm Wednesday 28th January 2015
THE three remaining cooling towers at the former Didcot A power station will be demolished in 2016, according to energy company RWE npower.
11:51am Wednesday 28th January 2015
A MAN is in hospital after he was cut across the face by a stranger, police said.
8:30am Wednesday 28th January 2015
A HORSE and carriage funeral procession made its way through the streets of Oxford yesterday as a great grandfather made his final journey.
9:10am Wednesday 28th January 2015
REPORTS suggesting Tyrone Barnett had rejected personal terms at Oxford United are wide of the mark, says chief executive Mark Ashton.
3:21pm Tuesday 27th January 2015
TOM Newey has signed a contract at Northampton Town until the end of the season, 24 hours after leaving Oxford United.
11:10am Tuesday 27th January 2015
JOE Skarz admitted it took plenty of thought to drop two divisions and join Oxford United, but was swayed by the club’s potential.
11:00am Tuesday 27th January 2015
OXFORD United’s bid for Tyrone Barnett shows their commitment to strengthening the squad as the January transfer window enters its final week, according to chief executive Mark Ashton.