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.”
2:33pm Saturday 28th February 2015
A pedestrian is fighting for their life in hospital after being in a collision with a car near Banbury this morning.
1:29pm Saturday 28th February 2015
FAMILY and friends of a murdered teenager have planted flowers at her memorial garden today.
9:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
AS 1,000 lifesavers have now been trained across Oxfordshire, the campaign to install more than 300 defibrillators is set to hit its target next month.
8:30am Saturday 28th February 2015
A GOOD Samaritan who said she was conned out of £70 by a highway fraudster is warning others about being caught in his trap.
8:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
BICESTER is set for television stardom as the man behind Channel 4’s Grand Designs heads is headed to Graven Hill.
7:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
A HANDYMAN has spent the last three months fitting boilers not for the home, but for the catwalk.
6:30am Saturday 28th February 2015
THE Government has lost track of where 30 per cent of state school and college students in Oxfordshire are going when they leave, new data has revealed.
6:00am Saturday 28th February 2015
DISCUSSIONS are now under way to come up with fresh ideas for the future of Botley’s West Way shopping centre.
1:38pm Friday 27th February 2015
ONE lane of the M40 southbound has closed after an accident.
11:00am Friday 27th February 2015
GARY Waddock says he feels no bitterness towards Oxford United as he prepares to face the club for the first time since being sacked last summer.
11:57am Friday 27th February 2015
Gary Glitter has been jailed for 16 years for a string of historic sex attacks on three schoolgirls.
9:00am Friday 27th February 2015
THE decision to axe the top job at Oxfordshire County Council will be reviewed after its leader admitted he rushed it through.
8:30am Friday 27th February 2015
MOTORISTS and cyclists will face bone-shaking journeys on county roads after cuts of nearly £3m in the road maintenance budget were approved.
8:30am Friday 27th February 2015
A RAINBOW flag will today fly from the town hall in Oxford to mark the 10th anniversary of LGBT month.
5:34pm Saturday 28th February 2015
4:53pm Saturday 28th February 2015
OXFORD United ground out a valuable point as they held in-form Portsmouth to a goalless draw at Fratton Park.
9:30am Saturday 28th February 2015
JOHNNY Mullins says memories of last season’s terrific win at Portsmouth will be in his mind as Oxford United attempt to pull off a repeat this afternoon.
6:40am Saturday 28th February 2015
MICHAEL Appleton is confident Oxford United’s younger players will be able to handle the atmosphere at a packed Fratton Park today.
2:00pm Friday 27th February 2015
While Gary Waddock’s time in charge at Oxford United was brief, it produced one clear benefit which has helped the side this season.