Southend United goalkeeper Daniel Bentley writes column for the Echo

Daniel Bentley - delighted to still be with Southend United

Daniel Bentley - delighted to still be with Southend United

First published in Sport

I CANNOT wait for the season to get underway at Accrington Stanley tomorrow.

I love it when there’s that all or nothing pressure on a game and, in stark contrast, I cannot stand that friendly feel you get at the pre-season matches.

Other than getting fit and prepared, there’s not really anything at stake in those friendlies.

But they are out of the way now and we’re looking to get the points we need to achieve promotion.

That what we want to achieve and it’s another big season for me as well.

Last year went well but I’m certainly not going to be resting on my laurels.

I’m certainly not going to be taking it for granted that I’m going to be picked or that I’m going to play well.

I know I will need to work as hard as I can to make them both happen and that’s exactly what I’ll be aiming to achieve.

That starts on Saturday and I’m very happy to still be with Southend too.

I know there was some speculation that I might be leaving and those rumours are flattering because it means you must be doing something right.

But when I left the training ground at the end of last season I fully expected to be coming back in July still being a Southend United player.

I’m very happy here, I wear the badge with real pride as it’s my home-town club and I’m just focusing on making sure I keep playing well.

Pre-season will help with that and it’s been a tough few weeks in training.

Our goalkeeping coach, Terry Mason, believes that goalkeepers need to be all round athletes so we’ve been joining in with the difficult running drills.

I can understand the benefits but most of us play in goal because we don’t want to run!

All jokes aside, I do feel fit and strong and with the weights sessions we’ve been doing as well I definitely feel ready for the challenges ahead and I’m looking forward to a successful season.

SINGING MADE ME MORE NERVOUS THAN MAKING MY DEBUT

WHEN new signings come in to our club they have to stand up and sing in front of the rest of the squad.

Myles Weston and Ellis Brown did theirs out in Spain when we trained over there but I would imagine the lads who joined this week will be singing at our meal this evening.

I still remember having to do my song and I would say I was more nervous about doing that then actually making my debut.

I was 16 at the time and I was so scared.

I sung Beatiful by Akon which was one of my favourite songs at the time but looking back now maybe I should’ve chosen something else that might have been a bit easier to sing!

ADAM THOMPSON'S SHOES PRE-SEASON PRANK HIGHLIGHT

THERE have been plenty of pranks at the training ground during pre-season and one of the best was Adam Thompson having a pair of his shoes tied on to the door of the heaters.

The lads weren’t too impressed by them and all thought they were fake Dolce and Gabbana.

But they were tied up so tight, Thommo had to get a pair of scissors to cut them free and he hasn’t worn them since!

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