Kenny Jackett believes the best of Wayne Hennessey is still to come after he returned from injury to positive effect against Wrexham on Tuesday night.
Hennessey is back at full fitness after twice rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments and Jackett admits there is more a mental barrier than a physical one for a player after a long-term spell on the sidelines.
But he has backed the Welsh international to overcome any such barrier and go on to mature and become even better in years to come.
“It is a big boost to have Wayne back because he’s a quality goalkeeper and he’s looked very good in training,” said Jackett.
“Reputations are all well and good in football based on what someone has done before, but you need to do it on a day-to-day basis, and, as the weeks have gone on, he’s done very well in training.
“He looks very fit and very capable in the goal.
“It’s a big barrier for him to come through.
“I do understand playing in a game is a different thing, but he’s only doing the same as he’s been doing every day now for the best part of a month.
“He came back early and was going well in terms of fitness.
“He’s working towards completing a month’s training and he’s fine.
“I think he has come back in with confidence and looking forward to the future and he’s very positive about it off the back of the work he’s done and how he looks.
“Wayne can certainly continue to fulfil his potential, there’s no doubt that can be the case.
“Goalkeepers mature later; I think they have a different career span to outfield players and they often get to their park later than outfield players.
“He has that in his favour and with that being the case, he’s just about coming into his best time.”
Hennessey, Carl Ikeme and Aaron McCarey is now a very strong goalkeeping department, and Jackett will be assessing the situation as regarding any loans out as the season draws closer.
“We have three good goalkeepers here with Wayne, Carl and Aaron,” he confirmed.
“We do understand people’s own personal situations but the main thing is the club.
“Those three getting some games in pre-season and then working towards us having a successful season is what we’re after.
“But in my mind there are three good goalkeepers here.”