His time with FCV began with a week-long visit, but Martin Petkov hasn’t looked back since becoming a short course student and making the decision to stay until the end of the season.
The Bulgarian goalkeeper has been awarded February’s Player of the Month for his outstanding attitude to self-improvement and his performances on the pitch.
Petkov, as the seemingly immovable object at the back, has been the key to the success that FCV have tasted since the turn of the year.
“He’s improved as a player like you wouldn’t believe,” FCV coach Ben Watts explained.
“He’s kept us in games at times. When we travelled to Strachan Academy we faced a very strong side and were defeated 3-0, but it could have been a cricket score – so it was a big confidence boost him.
“He’s got a lot of work to do, but he’s certainly going in the right direction. His introduction meant we have two goalkeepers at the Academy, and they’ve both pushed each other’s levels up. Charley Giffen has performed very well, too.”
It’s not easy being a goalkeeper within FCV, though.
The array of nationalities among the defence makes effective communication a learning experience in itself, and players have to adapt, but the introduction of a new goalkeeping coach has helped immensely.
“The improvement since Ashley Boulger joined has been massive,” claimed Watts.
“Martin’s a Bulgarian keeper and tends to have a back four ahead of him built up of different nationalities, but it hasn’t stopped him. His communication along with his positioning have really come on.”