Adelaide United have, over the years, been blessed with goalkeepers of true quality.
From ex-club captain Eugene Galekovic to former Central Coast player of the year Paul Izzo, the Red Army have had a plethora of talented glovemen to cheer on from the stands.
21-year-old James Delianov is the latest cab off the rank and like those that came before him, his story is one of resilience.
Such is the nature of the A-League that we see players popping up across multiple clubs throughout their career.
Eugene Galekovic kicked off his A-League career at United’s rival, Melbourne Victory, prior to playing over 200 games for the Reds.
His understudy, Izzo, had to depart the club for Central Coast to find opportunity before returning to Adelaide in 2017 as the number one option.
Delianov, a Melbourne native, spent time at the AIS before making his way to Melbourne City, where he found limited opportunities in the first team.
He played one game for the first team, a 5-0 win over cross-town rivals Victory, but was unable to crack the first team again before leaving for new side, Western United, for the 2019/20 season.
In the inaugural season of Western United, Delianov was unable to crack the first team, resulting in his departure.
It took Adelaide United only a few hours to secure the signature of Delianov and it has so far turned out to be a shrewd piece of business by Carl Veart and co.
Delianov joined a group of young keepers vying for the first team position in Adelaide and through persistence and due to his clear talent, he has so far been the pick of the bunch.
Much like those in goal before him, he has received an overwhelming positive reception from fans of the club, resulting in him being voted Members Player of the Month two times in a row in 2021.
“It’s an honour, I’m truly grateful for being nominated twice in a row,” he said of the award.
“I’m really enjoying it here so hopefully we can get a third one.
“As a goalkeeper the quieter our games the better, you don’t want to be making many saves but this is how the games have been panning out for me and I’m happy to do what I do and help the team.”
He has made the most saves of any keeper in the league and it is thanks largely to him that United were able to come away with a win on Saturday night against Western Sydney, their first away from home for the season.
It was a late save from Delianov that allowed United to keep Western Sydney to just two goals, something that he believes will be a confidence booster going forward.
“I was just trying to be in the moment, trying to keep everyone calm and just dig deep to get the win so I was happy that I could make those saves I did to help the team and bring home the three points,” he said.
“I think every player gains confidence with particular moments that happen in a football match.
“We all believe in each other and you have to be confident as a footballer.”
Delianov’s ability to adapt and overcome adversity has continued with the reds this season as he has had to deal with numerous changes to the United backline.
Former captain Michael Jakobsen has gone down with injury leaving him with a partnership of experienced Jordan Elsey and fellow new signing, George Timotheou, however Delianov credits his ability to adapt to the strength in depth the club has at its disposal.
“Everyone that’s coming in is doing a phenomenal job,” he said.
“There are little traits here and there that you have to adapt to but we train every day basically.
“There are things that you have to adapt to but it hasn’t been that difficult.
“We always believe in ourselves and back each other and we’ve got a lot of depth at our club, whoever comes in is doing a fantastic job.”
The Reds welcome Newcastle to Coopers Stadium this Friday night in yet another must-win encounter for United.
A win would see United claim their third straight victory, something that Delianov believes will help the group out massively.
“It’s something we can gain momentum from and something we can look to get ourselves back up into the top four range so really looking forward to Friday night,” he said.
“They’re a great side, we’ll prepare normally, we know what they’re about and we’ve been reviewing their games already earlier this week.
“We’re looking forward to Friday night.”