Sydney FC goalkeeper Danny Vukovic feels certain his form will improve under his first coach John Crawley
Photo Source: AAP
He taught him everything he knows two decades ago, and Danny Vukovic is confident goalkeeping supremo John Crawley will lift him back to his best at Sydney FC.
Vukovic says he owes much of his A-League longevity to the steadying influence of his first mentor Crawley, who coached him at Sydney's Westfield Sports High.
As he did with Socceroos gloveman Mat Ryan, Crawley taught the then 12-year-old student his South American-inspired brand of keeping learnt while playing in Chile.
The style, set apart by agile movement and good distribution, helped a 20-year-old Vukovic thrive when Crawley and then-Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna gave him his first A-League opportunity at the Mariners
Now the pair are reunited at Sydney where Vukovic, 31, and his wife have moved to be closer to family as his young son Harley waits for a life-saving liver transplant.
While here, he's vying to regain the form he feels slipped at Melbourne Victory last season on the way to losing his first-choice spot to Lawrence Thomas.
"John is my mentor, he's basically taught me everything I know as a goalkeeper," Vukovic told AAP.
"To have a form slump last year, I just felt it was a great time to get back with him.
"He's got a unique style of goalkeeping that really resonates with me.
"Over the years I haven't been with him I maybe went away from it a little bit.
"It's comforting knowing I've got him there now, and I feel as though he can get me back to my best."
Another factor driving him is the stiff competition with incumbent custodian Vedran Janjetovic for the No.1 spot.
Vukovic has played every FFA Cup match in the Sky Blues' semi-final run, clocking valuable competitive minutes in readiness for the A-League season.
With a beauty of a Sydney derby up first at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, both he and Janjetovic have their heads down hoping to get the green light from coach Graham Arnold.
"It's a good thing for the club to have two keepers that have shown in the past we're capable of playing at this level," Vukovic said.
"We don't know who's playing on Saturday but we're both preparing as if we are.
"If he plays I'll support him and I know he'll support me if I play."