JOHN Brayford is full of praise for on-loan Chelsea goalkeeper Brad Collins - saying the young stopper has learned "a hell of a lot" in his time with Burton Albion.
This is the seventh season that Brayford has played matches in Brewers colours, and there have been many moments to marvel at throughout a solid campaign back in the third tier.
One of those is the arrival of Collins in goal, on loan from the Premier League side. Collins has kept nine clean sheets in the league for Nigel Clough’s side, including three in February that earned him a League One PFA Fans' Player of the Month nomination.
Brayford, who has played as part of Collins' back-four on 23 occasions, has had high approval of the young shot stopper since he joined in August.
"I think he’s got massively better and better," Brayford said of Collins. "He’s a top goalkeeper, and he’s come here and learned a hell of a lot.
"His distribution has been brilliant and (over) the past four months, he’s added some world class saves at times."
After being part of the Albion set-up for such a period of time, Brayford has overseen a large number of young players come and go through the Burton door. Collins fits neatly into this bracket and at only 22, he has many years in between the sticks to come.
"If he keeps doing what he’s doing, I don’t see any reason why not," Brayford said when asked about Collins becoming one of the best in the business.
"He’s a big lad, his attributes are all there it’s just up to himself really."
The pair will need their wits about them as the Brewers welcome Barnsley to the Pirelli on Saturday (3pm kick-off), with the Tykes currently second in the League One table and in menacing form.
This won’t dishearten the team, especially after Collins and Brayford battled for a well earned 0-0 draw in their previous encounter at Oakwell, one of the results that earned the goalkeeper his Player of the Month nomination.
"Previously, we know they’re good and resolute as well as posing an attacking threat," Brayford said of this weekend's visitors.
"We’ve got to be on the ball at both ends of the pitch to get three points out of the game.
"We know ourselves we are capable of beating anyone in this league."