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.”
- Sexual assaults are denied
- Authorities search for solutions as graffiti in Oxford doubles in a year
- Tackling cyber-crime and fraud are main priorities for Conservative police commissioner candidate
- Prime Minister says he has no offshore funds following Panama Papers leak
- Traders called on to support this summer's Cowley Road Carnival
- Tributes paid in Witney to former butcher and much-loved member of community
- Successful education scheme from Oxford charity to be rolled out across the UK
- Stunt actor from Oxford meets his match on Take Me Out
- 11 years on, pupils jump for joy over installation of crossing
- Barton gets £4m cash boost to transform estate’s homes and shops
- Time-travelling story takes top spot in our Ox Tales competition
- Former Oxford City director Thomas Guerriero pleads guilty to $6.6m fraud
- Police confirm dead baby was newborn and renew desperate appeal to find mother
- Adam says yes after reading girlfriend's Leap Day proposal on the Oxford Mail website
- Oxford United to host drinks and barbecue before crunch Wycombe clash
- Chris Maguire hails 'remarkable' away support as Oxford United beat Carlisle
- Oxford United keeper Benji Buchel so thankful to Danny Hylton for goalline clearance
- Missed chances frustrate Oxford United head coach Michael Appleton in victory over Carlisle United
- VIDEO: Highlights from Oxford United's win at Carlisle United