Harrogate Town goalkeeper Lewis Thomas will prove to be an able deputy for Mark Oxley if required in coming weeks
The 21-year-old made his League Two debut as a second-half substitute during Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Crewe Alexandra after the Sulphurites’ number one was forced off with a calf injury.
A summer signing following his release by Premier League Burnley, Thomas’ only other competitive appearance in Town colours saw him beaten five times in an EFL Trophy loss to Accrington Stanley earlier this month.
But he managed to keep a clean-sheet during his 47-minute outing at the weekend, producing a couple of saves, including a sprawling block to deny Courtney Baker-Richardson in a one-on-one situation.
Town are yet to discover the full extent of Oxley’s injury, however Weaver is backing Thomas to do the business in his absence if the 33-year-old is sidelined for this Saturday’s FA Cup first-round trip to non-league Marine and beyond.
“He’s hurt his calf. We don’t know the full extent of it, we will have to see over the next 48 hours,” Weaver said of Oxley’s injury, speaking immediately after Saturday’s game.
“Hopefully he will be okay, but I thought that Lewis came on and did really well.
“The save, one-on-one, I was glad for him because he often makes that Peter Schmeichel-esque type of save where he makes himself big, because he’s a huge guy.
“I was really pleased for him because it’s not easy, going into a team that is in a losing position in a game, with a forceful away following who are trying to get into your head, but he’s a strong man and handled himself well.
“We’ll see how serious Ox’s injury is, but we will back Lewis if Ox isn’t fit.”
Town’s only other senior goalkeeper, Pete Jameson, is currently on loan with National League Hartlepool United having asked to be transfer-listed at the end of 2022/23 in an attempt to secure himself guaranteed first-team football.
He started the campaign on the substitutes bench, but has made 11 league appearances for Pools thus far, conceding 20 goals in the process.
The 30-year-old did however find himself dropped for Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Rochdale.
Back at Wetherby Road, Town’s injury problems had appeared to be easing, with left-back Liam Gibson expected to be the only absentee for their clash with Crewe.
But defenders Warren Burrell and Toby Sims and striker Josh March also ended up missing out at the weekend, prior to Oxley limping off.
“Warren was ill, Josh March was injured and Toby Sims got injured as well, in training, so it’s a shame for those lads,” Weaver added.
“But, I think that we can involve nearly all the squad next week because it’s the FA Cup, so a bigger bench is required.”