SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is confident of keeping goalkeeper Daniel Bentley at the club, despite rumoured interest from Leeds United.

Elland Road boss Brian McDermott watched the Shrimpers in action at Rochdale last Friday, with Bentley apparently on his radar.

But Brown is not resigned to losing his star shot-stopper, who still has two years left on his contract.

And he is also hopeful of being able to keep hold of impressive loan duo John Egan and Jakub Sokolik.

“I’m very hopeful of keeping Daniel Bentley at the football club and also John and Jakub too,” said Brown.

“Daniel has done very well this season, he’s young and has kept 19 clean sheets so I’m not surprised if there is interest in him or any other or players who have done well this season.

“But my job is to try and keep the best players here and that’s what I will be trying to do.

“The bigger picture is we want what is best for this football club and we’re all focusing on trying to achieve promotion at this stage.”

Brown added that Ryan Leonard could also be on the radar of bigger clubs after impressing in the Shrimpers’ midfield this season.

But he has been delighted by the approach of his young players.

“It’s hard when players have their heads turned but that hasn’t happened here and their attitudes have been spot on,” said Brown.

“They are focusing on what we want to achieve and I’m sure they will want to have a promotion on their CV.

“I would never want to stand in the way of a young player but we obviously want what’s best for us.”

That also includes keeping centre-backs Egan and Sokolik at the club.

Egan, who is with Blues on loan from Sunderland and Sokolik, who is on loan from Liverpool, have impressed alongside each other at the heart of the back four.

And Brown is keen to sign them both permanently.

“I’ve had conversations with them, their agents and clubs about wanting to sign them,” confirmed the Blues chief.

“We haven’t got to the nitty-gritty yet and we need to put meat on the bones but we’re hopeful they will stay.

“However, it’s far from being a done deal at this stage.”

Egan and Sokolik have kept six clean sheets in their eight games together and the Shrimpers now boast the best defensive record in the division having conceded 38 goals in their 44 matches so far this season.