Scott Loach believes the bond struck with keeper coach Ross Turnbull can help drive him on at even greater heights at Hartlepool United.
The former Watford goalie managed to pick up the player of the year gong last season despite, by his own admission, being far from flawless.
But Loach is certain that with former Champions League winner Turnbull by his side, he can get even better at Pools.
“There are parts of my game I still need to improve on. I am working on that,” he said.
“Ross has been a goalkeeper at the very highest level and he has brought some brilliant, proper training. The work has been brilliant.
“He has become a friend as well as a goalkeeping coach. We have built a strong relationship.
“As a keeper there are games when it goes well and others when it wont.
“What Ross does well is let you know when you can do things better but does it at the right times and in the right way.
“If you’ve done well he will say, ‘no, we need to work on that’. And then when you have not done so well it’s ‘well, it was only that’. He strikes the right balance for me.
“We have been working on every aspect of my game. At the age of 30 I would like to think I still have a long future in the game.
“And Ross is the right man for me.”
Former Middlesbrough and Chelsea keeper Turnbull has not only had a positive influence on Loach, he’s also had a big impact on Ryan Catterick.
Despite the youngster going out on loan this week, Loach, whose side take on Ebbsfleet United at the Super 6 Stadium today, says he’s getting pushed every step of the way for the number one jersey.
“Ross has been great for Ryan, too,” he said.
“We are all pushing each other in training.
“Ryan is 19 going on 25 - he is a confident lad, in the right kind of way.
“The only thing he has not had in his career is games.
“Some things you can only get from experience - the feeling of taking a pressure cross in the last minute, feel the pain of a mistake and the consequences.
“He is a very good goalkeeper, has the ability and he has me on my toes.
“By no means am I sitting at this club thinking I will play every game.
“I want to prolong my career and he want’s to establish it. Ross is right behind us pushing us all the way. So it works well.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed this week that Turnbull has registered as a player, just in case Loach gets injured in a warm up, while Catterick is away at Guisborough.
Bates said: “Ryan needs to play games, we won’t be replacing him.
“Ross will register in case anything was to happen in the warm-up before the game and he was needed. It’s very, very doubtful he would be called upon.
“It’s a fine balance to look after Ryan’s career. If we need a keeper we can make an emergency loan.”