'He's not like Joe Lewis- Peterborough United chairman 'absolutely loves' young goalkeeper

Nicholas Bilokapic applauds the Peterborough United fans. Photo: Joe Dent.Nicholas Bilokapic applauds the Peterborough United fans. Photo: Joe Dent.
Nicholas Bilokapic applauds the Peterborough United fans. Photo: Joe Dent.
Peterborough United Chairman Darragh MacAnthony ‘absolutely loves’ goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic.

The 21-year-old Posh keeper has come under fire in recent weeks, particularly after two errors leading to goals in the recent 2-2 draw at home to Salford.

He was also called into question for Wigan’s opener the following Tuesday but did bounce back against Cambridge in the 5-0 win last weekend with a clean sheet.

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That clean sheet was his seventh of the season, which leave his joint top of the Golden Glove standing with Portsmouth’s Will Norris and Derby’s Joe Wildsmith.

MacAnthony has compared the situation to that of former Posh hero Joe Lewis, who had a difficult start to his Posh career after signing for a considerable £400k fee in January 2008 from Norwich.

He ended up being up part of a Posh side that went on a run of back-to-back to promotions but did make some high profile mistakes.

He later admitted: “I had some unbelievably good experiences in my time at Peterborough but that promotion season in League One was also the toughest of my career without a doubt.

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"I had a poor run of matches and it really affected my confidence. I went into some games absolutely dreading them.

“It was a mental thing. I was very young and I hadn’t learnt how to deal with mistakes.

“I was always confident in my ability, but I let errors bother me too much. One bad game would affect my confidence for the next couple of matches and I made some standout mistakes in that season.”

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MacAnthony has praised the mental resilience of Bilokapic, however, and doesn’t expect a similar thing to happen this time around.

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Speaking on his Hard Truth Podcast, MacAnthony said: “I absolutely love that kid, he made a couple of clangers against Salford and a small section of our crowd went for him. The great thing about him is though, I saw him at the training ground last week, he’s massive.

“The message to him is keep doing what you’re doing, don’t care about it. Even in the stands against Salford I said to Baz, this team will find a way.

“The great thing I can about say him is, we had a great goalkeeper called Joe Lewis, who we paid a lot of money for. When he made a couple of errors, he went under for a while. He was young and the crowd turned on him, he found it difficult and those errors led to more errors.

“This goalkeeper is different. He’s not like that, it doesn’t bother him. He made two massive calamities and he didn’t care and all I can say is, he’s just turned 21 and he’s the joint leading golden glove winner in League One so he’s playing his first batch of football, he’s playing in a young team, he’s playing in a team based on dominating possession, playing out from the back no matter what and he’s got seven clean sheets in 17 games.

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“I don’t care if he makes errors, keep doing what you’re doing son. I know for a fact that he will develop into a top, top class goalkeeper.

“We have an attitude this year that no matter what kind of mistake happens on the pitch, we don’t care, we wipe ourselves down and we go again. There’s no blame for trying to do what we want to.”

Fynn Talley was preferred to Bilokapic for Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Salford and it expected to keep his place for Tuesday’s EFL Trophy tie away at Colchester before the Australian returns to when Posh return to league action on November 25 at home to Burton.