Jason Goodliffe said that Nik Tzanev has made significant progress during his loan spell at Sutton United and he believes the 23-year-old keeper has a bright future ahead of him.
Jason, who played a big part in AFC Wimbledon’s rise by helping us to successive promotions between 2007 and 2009, is Assistant Manager at Sutton United, where New Zealand international Nik has made 19 appearances this season.
After starting the season between the sticks for our first-team at League One level, it was felt that a loan move would be best for Nik’s development and he has thrived at the National League club.
“Nik made his debut in the game at Torquay and that turned out to be a turning point for us in the season,” said Jason. “We had been struggling a little bit before then. We had not been getting the results we deserved and Nik has had a massive impact since he came in. He is a great lad, great in training, and he’s great around the place. Nik is a really good fit with what we are trying to do, which is to have young, hungry players, who want to progress in the game. He is eager to learn and he listens to advice. I’m sure he’s going to have a very good career in the game, he’s been great for us.
“He’s quite unassuming, he just does what he has to do for the team when required. Nik has been a good signing, he isn’t the finished article and he still has a lot to improve upon, but he has been fantastic for us. I think in time Nik will turn into a very good goalkeeper."
Jason, who is currently on furloughed leave at Sutton United due to Coronavirus, added that Nik's form this season has shown the benefit of him getting regular game-time.
“I am not sure what Wimbledon’s plan are for Nik for next season," said Jason. "I don’t think it would do him any harm to have another season playing for us, that’s if he was not going to be in the first-team at Wimbledon. I think it has really benefited him to get out and play games. You can see that with the goalkeeper he is now, compared to when he first came to Sutton. He has really improved and I think that’s only because he’s been playing men’s football consistently.
“Seb Brown (Goalkeeper Coach at Sutton) has been top drawer in helping Nik. There’s obviously the Wimbledon connection and he knew Nik well before he came in. Seb obviously also knows Ashley Bayes well at Wimbledon. They are in communication regularly with regards to what Nik needs at different times.”
Jason was speaking to our official website in an interview about his coaching career and what AFC Wimbledon still means to him. Keep an eye out a bit later for a full interview with Jason.