STEVE Parkin expects Jordan Pickford to grow into his role of City number one after his first clean sheet.

The Sunderland youngster protected the unbeaten start to the season with a crucial late save in Saturday's 0-0 draw at Walsall.

Pickford, who had a mixed debut against Coventry the week before, bounced back well to deny home midfielder Adam Chambers in stoppage time.

City number two Parkin said: "He's a young goalkeeper who's brave, makes good decisions and stands by them.

"There's no doubt he will make a few mistakes. But the one outstanding thing about him is that he's a terrific character.

" We're really delighted he kept his concentration as long as he did to make that save in the end."

Pickford is barred from playing in the Capital One Cup by the Premier League club and had spent the first half of the week in the north-east getting treatment for an adductor strain.

Parkin said: "He's had a bit of discomfort so he spent three days back up at Sunderland and wasn't involved with us.

"I thought his kicking was exemplary again and he also came and took a couple of really good crosses.

"There's no doubt in my mind he's going to be an outstanding goalkeeper."

Derby striker Mason Bennett, City's other loan signing, showed some promise on his debut but Parkin expects the 18-year-old to get sharper the more he plays.

"Mason looked that half yard short but he's been in and out of the team at Derby and not had as many minutes on the pitch as he would have liked," said the City assistant boss.

"He certainly showed enough for us to know he will be a threat. He grew into it second half and suddenly became a threat.

"Mason has got blistering pace over 20 yards when he gets going and will score goals. He'll be a good asset."

Injured Billy Clarke, who made way for Bennett, has also been ruled out of tomorrow's trip to his former club Crawley. The striker tweaked his hamstring in training on Friday.

City are not putting any pressure on Alan Sheehan to return. The defender missed Saturday's game after going back to Ireland following a family bereavement.

Parkin said: "We've just got to respect his time of mourning. He had some really bad news directly after an outstanding display at Morecambe, where he was fantastic.

"He's been with his family where he needs to be and will remain there as long as he feels is right.

"Knowing Alan as we do, he'll want to come back and play once he's paid his respects. He's a hard lad as well as being a very good player.

"But James Meredith has had two smashing games, considering he missed some (of) pre-season.

"We're evolving as a group. There are a lot of new players and we should be pretty satisfied with how we've started."

Skipper Stephen Darby added: "It's a difficult time for Alan but everyone at the club is thinking of him."

City will meet with West Yorkshire Police at lunchtime to finalise ticket details for next Wednesday's Valley Parade derby against Leeds.

But director of operations David Baldwin has confirmed that only away fans will be housed in the Midland Road stand.