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.”
3:20pm Thursday 20th November 2014
A BACK garden in Oxford would appear to have been one of hundreds of webcams in the UK hacked by a Russian website.
9:00am Thursday 20th November 2014
A FIVE-screen cinema and designer fashion outlet have been revealed as the latest two big name tenants for the redeveloped Westgate Shopping Centre.
12:38pm Thursday 20th November 2014
TWO lanes were closed on the M40 following a vehicle fire and diesel spill.
11:53am Thursday 20th November 2014
A TEENAGER who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing seven girls has today been branded "dangerous" and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
11:02am Thursday 20th November 2014
CASH and a large amount of cigarettes were stolen from a shop in Woodstock Road yesterday morning.
10:38am Thursday 20th November 2014
AN 18-year-old girl from Witney who has been missing for almost 24 hours is being sought by police.
9:56am Thursday 20th November 2014
STUDENTS queued through the night to secure their first choice accommodation for next year.
9:00am Thursday 20th November 2014
A MAN was killed when his car and a van collided in Witney yesterday.
8:30am Thursday 20th November 2014
Tim Hughes talks to Mark Gardener about reforming the mighty Ride
8:10am Thursday 20th November 2014
SERENE gardens and blossoming flowers took the spotlight during a national daily television programme this week.
8:00am Thursday 20th November 2014
THE Mayor of Carterton has vowed to help save a service that supports military wives.
7:00am Thursday 20th November 2014
TRAFFIC congestion caused by a series of roadworks has left Oxford businesses counting the cost.
6:30am Thursday 20th November 2014
THE retrial of four men accused of leaving former Oxford United player Robbie Hughes with permanent brain damage after he was attacked on a Greek island six years ago has been delayed for a second time.
6:23pm Wednesday 19th November 2014
A 21-YEAR-OLD man is on police bail after an 11-week-old baby from Faringdon died last night.
12:30pm Thursday 20th November 2014
OXFORD United have completed the signing of Chey Dunkley from Kidderminster Harriers.
9:30am Wednesday 19th November 2014
OXFORD United set up a glamour trip to Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup as they saw off rivals Swindon Town 3-2 at the Kassam Stadium.
9:00am Wednesday 19th November 2014
CHEY Dunkley is expected to complete his move to Oxford United today after international duty delayed the transfer from Kidderminster Harriers.
9:25pm Tuesday 18th November 2014
JORDAN Graham scored twice but Oxford United had to survive a late scare on the way to knocking rivals Swindon Town out of the FA Youth Cup at the Kassam Stadium.