SOUTHEND United goalkeeper Daniel Bentley hopes his penalty saving heroics can keep him in the starting line-up for Saturday’s game against Bradford City at Roots Hall.

The Wickford based 19-year-old helped Blues beat Bury on penalties during an FA Cup second round replay on Tuesday night by saving two spot kicks during the shoot out.

And he now wants to stay in the side for the battle against the Bantams.

“I’m not here to sit on the bench, I want to play and be number one so hopefully I can stay in the team now,” said Bentley, a former Bromfords School pupil in Wickford.

“What happens now is up to the manager but I’ve done all I can and I was pleased with how things went for me against Bury.”

Bentley came in for Paul Smith between the sticks after the experienced failed a late fitness test on a back problem.

That handed Bentley his fifth appearance of the season.

But, before kick-off, he was fearful the game would be called off due to a frozen pitch.

“I was sitting there thinking I’ve got a chance to play and the match is going to get called off,” said Bentley.

“I’m obviously really glad it went ahead.

“The pitch did make kicking quite difficult but you just have to get on with it.”

Bentley coped well with the tricky conditions and was then Blues’ hero during the penalty shoot out as Paul Sturrock’s side triumphed 3-2 on penalties to make it through to the third round.

“I just couldn’t believe it, I’m absolutely over the moon and just delighted that I’ve helped the team into the next round, “ said Bentley.

“I was eager to impress when I knew I would be playing, but I didn’t expect it to be like it was.

“As a goalkeeper, you do watch the tapes, but you have to just throw yourself and hope to make the save.

“Luckily I made two saves, and I thought I made a couple of good saves in the game too, so I’m just extremely happy.”

Bentley’s display also impressed boss Sturrock and he was full of praise for the young shot-stopper.

“Daniel is very much challenging to be the number one goalkeeper at the football club,” said Sturrock.

“He was very good against Bury and has been every time he’s been called upon this season.

“He made some good saves during normal time and in the shoot out too so we’re very pleased with how he’s progressing.”