Confident keeper Sam Slocombe is back on his game at Scunthorpe United says boss Brian Laws
SAM Slocombe’s match-winning save in midweek reflects what a confident keeper the Iron number one has become, according to his manager.
Brian Laws believes the spell out of the firing line Slocombe received during the early part of his third stint in charge at Scunthorpe United has enabled the 24-year-old to rediscover his best form.
The former Bottesford Town stopper was dropped to the bench a week after Laws’ return to Glanford Park, replaced by the more experienced Steve Mildenhall, on loan from Millwall.
But ever since Mildenhall was recalled (and then moved on to Bristol Rovers), just 24 hours before United’s New Year’s Day game with Oldham Athletic, Slocombe has re-established himself as first-choice.
And he received special praise for his work ethic and a stunning point-blank save to thwart Carlisle United substitute Mark Beck in the closing moments of Tuesday’s 3-1 home victory, an instinctive stop which came when the score was 2-1.
“Sam Slocombe had to pull off a couple of top, top quality saves on Tuesday,” said Laws, who poured praise on every member of the Iron squad after that victory.
“I think he will probably have been disappointed with the Carlisle goal, but by did he make up for it.
“Credit to him. His confidence is very, very high at the moment – as it should be when he’s been playing well.”
Laws believes he was right to bring in Mildenhall. Slocombe disagreed, but has admitted he did learn plenty from the Lions loanee.
For whatever reason – and playing behind a much more solid-looking defensive line will have for sure played a part – Slocombe, on Tuesday, looked like the player that a year ago reportedly drew an admiring glance from the Premier League.
“I’d seen Sam when he first made his debut so I knew he had talent and the opportunity to do well for himself,” Laws continued.
“But I’ve got to say, when I first arrived, what I saw was a broken goalkeeper.
“He’d conceded a lot of goals and the way the team was playing was putting a lot of pressure on him. I thought the first thing I had to do was relieve that pressure.
“He might not have thanked me at the time, but I think when he looks back, coming out of the team was the best thing that has happened to him.
“Bringing in Steve Mildenhall allowed Sam to relax and get back on his game and he’s benefited from that.
“Since he’s come back in, he’s looked a different goalkeeper altogether.
“It’s been a massive turnaround for him and I think that’s brilliant because I really like him. He’s a hard-working young lad and I’m delighted to be working with him.”