Young Aberdeen goalkeeper Sam Jackson says first-team stoppers Joe Lewis and Tomas Cerny are having a big impact on his development.
Jackson, 19, joined in the summer from relegated Dundee on a one-year deal, and played in the Dons Reserves’ 6-1 Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup win against Banks o’ Dee at Spain Park on Wednesday.
This season he is effectively Derek McInnes’ third choice keeper after Irishman Danny Rogers was sent on loan to Morton for the campaign.
Jackson thinks the valuable exposure he has already had to the senior squad – and the chance to learn from skipper Lewis and Cerny – is something you don’t get at every club.
He said: “They’re great keepers – in training and in games. They’re generally (great guys) in person as well.
“They’ve helped me a lot. From when I’ve first came in they’ve helped me to get involved with the first team, which you don’t get much at other clubs I feel.
“But here it’s been everyone from U18s through to first team and staff as well.”
Jackson revealed experienced goalies Lewis and Cerny have made an effort to watch him play for the young Dons, before giving him pointers on how to improve his performances.
He added: “They’ve watched a couple of my games as well and said if I have a higher starting position I can come out for more.
“I did it a couple of times against Banks o’ Dee.
“In previous games I’ve done it as well.
“They’ve helped me get better in games, which has led to getting better in general.”
Since Rogers headed out on loan, Jackson has travelled and warmed-up with the first team.
This has included the Europa League third qualifying round tie home leg against Rijeka, as well as the Betfred Cup win at Dens Park against his old club on Sunday.
He said: “I’ve been in the squad the last three weeks, which has been really good and boosted my confidence.
“It’s obviously good having me in and around the squad, being a keeper.
“The boys have welcomed me really well.”
Jackson’s route to Aberdeen was the result of former team Dundee’s relegation.
A good performance against Paul Sheerin’s Reds reserves last season meant, when Dundee cut costs by ditching their reserve squad, the Englishman was offered a deal at Pittodrie.
He explained: “I was at Dundee last season and we played against Aberdeen. I played quite well and the call came from there.
“I was with Dundee the rest of the season and halfway through I’d been told I’d be getting another two-year contract with the club.
“Obviously that was before we got relegated. They released their whole reserve team, me included.
“It’s worked out better for me. “Now I’m at Aberdeen – better club, better people, better football team as well. No disrespect to Dundee of course.”
Londoner Jackson, who was with Millwall on a scholarship, has been tested already this term alongside his team-mates.
The match at Spain Park came just a couple of weeks after a demoralising 6-0 drubbing at Brora in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup.
However, on Wednesday, the young Reds showed they’ve got plenty of ability as they avoided a second consecutive Shire Cup exit to Junior champions Dee.
After sealing a semi-final against Formartine United on September 3, Jackson thinks Aberdeen’s B team have the ingredients to be successful this season.
They’re no longer in the Reserve League, but Sheerin’s team will contest a league tournament with Celtic, Rangers, Hibs, Brentford and Huddersfield, as well as the Shire Cup, Shield and Reserve Cup.
Jackson said: “This year is a brand new squad including myself, with a brand new back four.
“We’re gelling really well I think and have a lot to come in games. I’ve no doubt about that at all.”