SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown has urged Daniel Bentley to make up his mind on his future.

The shot-stopper is expected to leave the Shrimpers before the start of next season.

But Brown is keen for the 22-year-old to formally decide whether or not he will be staying.

“I’ve met with Daniel Bentley and he’s very respectable towards the club and our situation,” said Brown.

“I expect him to leave if I’m honest and make a career move to a higher level but we ideally need to know soon what he’s decided to do.

“We have Ted Smith here and he’s a firm contender for the number one slot next year but if Dan goes then we will need to bring someone else in as well.

“You can’t have just the one goalkeeper and it’s far healthier to have two of them fighting it out for a start.

“That’s what we’re aiming for but we need to know officially if one of those is going to be Dan,” Brown added.

Bentley – who has made 160 appearances for Blues - is attracting interest from Burnley, Bournemouth, Glasgow Rangers and Brentford and is widely expected to leave the Shrimpers this summer.

However, if he did decide to stay then he would receive coaching from a revamped set up at Roots Hall.

Brown is keen to recruit a full-time goalkeeping coach and has already met with applicants with the position.

“I want a full-time goalkeeping coach here next season and we’ve started to talk to people who are interested in the job,” said Brown.

“One has been strongly recommended to me by Jussi Jaaskelainen as he’s worked with him in the past.

“I’ll be meeting with him among others this week and hopefully we can have something in place for the start of next season.”

Terry Mason and Paul Smith shared the goalkeeping coaching responsibilities at Blues last season.

But Mason – who has helped bring through both Daniel Bentley and Ted Smith to the Shrimpers’ first team – is unable to take the post full-time.

However, he will still be working with the Shrimpers’ youngsters.

“Terry is unable to take the job full-time but he will be staying with us, which is good news,” said Brown.

“He’s brought through some terrific goalkeepers and will now work with more of the talented youngsters we have here.

“We’re always looking at ways to improve and I think the appointment of a full-time goalkeeping coach is a way of making that happen.”

Smith – who lined up 47 times between the sticks for Blues before concentrating on coaching – will also be holding more talks with Brown.

Echosport understands an experienced locally based goalkeeper is also keen on the position.