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Max Stryjek: Livingston expect goalkeeper exit as Ivan Konovalov is backed to succeed

Max Stryjek’s suspension allowed Ivan Konovalov to make his Livingston debut

Livingston manager David Martindale still expects Max Stryjek to leave this summer despite no concrete bids being received for the Polish goalkeeper.

And Martindale believes that Ivan Konovalov is equipped to take over as number one after the Russian’s two games while Stryjek was suspended.

The 25-year-old Pole is contracted to Livingston until the summer of 2023.

“We’re still a good bit off in terms of Max leaving the building,” Martindale said.

“But there have been enquiries via agents and other clubs. I’ve not really spoken to Max about it.”

However, Martindale will not stand in Stryjek’s way should there be an official approach for the goalkeeper, who has played 69 times since arriving from National League club Eastleigh in 2020.

“The unique selling point for anyone who comes into our club is to try and get themselves a move to England or to the Old Firm, or failing that, to the Edinburgh two or Aberdeen, where the wages are substantially more than you’re going to get at Livingston,” the manager explained. “Everybody who comes here uses us as a stepping stone.”

Konovalov, who signed for the Lions in January after leaving Rubin Kazan, has played in Livingston’s past two Scottish Premiership games and could face St Mirren on Wednesday.

“I said even before Max got suspended that he was always going to come into the team,” Martindale said. “I’ve still to make my mind up, but he will potentially keep his place on Wednesday.

“I do believe Max is probably not going to be here, because there is a good bit of interest, so I’ve got to do what’s right for the squad and I think, from what I’ve seen of Ivan, he’s more than capable of being the number one next season.”

Livingston have beaten Hibernian and drawn with St Johnstone, conceding just once, since the 27-year-old Konovalov came into the team.

“He’s done okay in his two games so far,” Martindale added. “His distribution in the first game could have been better, but I think the pace of Scottish football caught him out a little bit. In and around his area, defending his six-yard box, he’s been good and he’s made a couple of decent saves.

“I trust him. The more game time I can get into Ivan, the better it’s going to be for the squad next season.”

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