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.”
2:10pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
HUNDREDS of mourners lined Blackbird Leys Road to pay their respects to former councillor Val Smith this morning.
12:24pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
A CRASH is currently blocking a lane on the A34 near the Botley Interchange.
11:56am Tuesday 26th May 2015
A LANE on the A40 near Witney has been closed this morning for essential pot hole repairs.
12:13pm Tuesday 26th May 2015
A video review of how the murders of Jan and Derin Jordon and Phil Howard, plus the subsequent manhunt for Jed Allen, unfolded.
11:22am Tuesday 26th May 2015
RESULTS of post mortem examinations on the three people killed in Didcot are not expected until tomorrow, police said.
9:43am Tuesday 26th May 2015
THE eastbound Botley Road is at a near-standstill this morning following the latest phase of roadworks at Frideswide Square.
9:20am Tuesday 26th May 2015
Oxford City general manager Justin Merritt feels that his side’s change of divisions next season is a mixed blessing, but is relishing the new challenge.
8:50am Tuesday 26th May 2015
BRIGHTLY coloured ribbons tied carefully around posts on the streets of Didcot have become a symbol of solidarity in the town.
8:27am Tuesday 26th May 2015
DELAYS are expected for drivers on the M40 due to heavy traffic.
8:11am Sunday 24th May 2015
Follow our Live and unrivalled coverage of the murder investigation in Didcot, updated throughout today
8:42am Monday 25th May 2015
THE MAN suspected of killing Philip Howard, Janet Jordon and Derin Jordon is employed as an apprentice gardener for Didcot Town Council.
8:00am Monday 25th May 2015
CRADLING his baby sister Derin, this is a teenage Jed Allen, the man suspected of killing her and their mother in a house in Didcot.
8:00am Monday 25th May 2015
TRIPLE murder suspect Jed Allen was still being sought by police today in an operation involving more than 100 officers.
5:00pm Monday 25th May 2015
HUNDREDS of villagers turned out to cheer on those taking part in the annual Bampton Shirt Race.
9:10am Tuesday 26th May 2015
Oxford United have been named as one of the favourites for the Sky Bet League Two title next season.
9:30am Monday 25th May 2015
LIAM Sercombe is aiming to help solve Oxford United’s search for goals from midfield next season.
6:00am Monday 25th May 2015
SWINDON Town and Wycombe Wanderers suffered play-off agony over the weekend.
9:30am Friday 22nd May 2015
Ryan Taylor remains firmly on Oxford United’s radar despite the signing of Kemar Roofe, according to head coach Michael Appleton.
9:30am Wednesday 20th May 2015
RYAN Clarke admits he would listen if the right opportunity came up this summer after being told he would not be certain of being Oxford United’s No 1 goalkeeper next season.