Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler stressed that clean sheets are not just down to one man as he backed keeper Alex Cairns to cope with the pressure of competition from Chris Nea.
Cairns built on his 16 clean sheets last term by starting this season with three more.
Town’s number one has since conceded 18 in seven League One games but Rosler says the current pressure could be career-defining for the 24-year-old, who started his first-ever league game against Chesterfield last November.
Neal was in goal for Tuesday’s 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy win over Morecambe and Rosler hopes competition can bring the best out of both keepers.
The head coach said: “I think a lot of people will see how many clean sheets we had last year and how many goals we have conceded this year, but that does not necessarily mean the goalkeeper has a bad time.
“I think clean sheets and conceding goals have a lot to do with how we work as a team against the ball. That starts with the striker and ends with the goalkeeper.
“Alex Cairns had a very good game against Bradford – he stabilised after Southend.
“Don’t forget, Alex has not even played one year in this league week in, week out. The second year is always the hardest one.
“Chris Neal put professional pressure on him in a fair way. I think that is what Alex has to live with and that will define his career – he deals with it and takes the next step or he struggles. Always we think positive.
“I think competition will get the best out of most of our players, and I think it will get the best out of Alex and also out of Chris.”
Wes Burns scored against Morecambe this week but Rosler stressed he may have to wait for a recall to Town’s League One side.
The Town boss feels the Welshman is most effective in a 4-3-3 formation and said: “I think Wes had a good game. He scored a very good individual goal and he made the second goal.
“I think Wes’ strength is playing on the right side. I think when we eventually play with three strikers again Wes will probably will get more chances to play from the start.
“He is pushing. He is always motivated in training and I think he is a confidence player. The goal will do him a world of good.
“He never dropped his head in terms of work ethic. He always keep on going and that is the only way to get himself back in the team.”
It is 18 months since the 22-year-old Burns last scored a league goal in Town’s 2-0 win over Peterborough.