MARK Bentley insists he has got the backing of the Canvey Island board despite a wretched run of form.

The Gulls have suffered six Isthmian North defeats in their last seven outings following the 3-0 reverse at AFC Sudbury on Saturday.

The downturn in results has seen Canvey eliminated from play-off contention, but Bentley is pleased to have the support of Gulls chairman John Batch.

“In my head I am certainly going to be here next season,” said Bentley.

“I am concerned about my future but I am determined to get this right.

“No doubt, people will question me but I have had numerous conversations with the people above me.

“I have got the backing from everyone above me, who know what needs doing to get this club back on track.

“The culture at the club is clearly not right because we had such a good start to the year followed by such a bad run of results.

“I need to get to the root of the problem as quickly as I possibly can.”

With Canvey not in the running for a place in the Isthmian North’s top five, Bentley is keen to hand opportunities to the up-and-coming talent currently featuring for Benfleet in the Eastern Senior League Division One South.

“There was some schoolboy defending in the defeat at AFC Sudbury and we have got to rectify that,” added the former Southend United midfielder.

“I am going to give some of the reserve players - who are currently playing for Benfleet - a chance between now and the end of the season because we have got nothing to lose.

“It gives them experience of competitive matches at this level and it’s a chance for them to show that they should be in my plans next season.”

With the ex-Grays Athletic boss confident that his job is not under threat, Bentley is already planning for next season.

The 41-year-old admitted: “I have already spoken to some players that I want to bring in next season.

“It’s difficult to bring anyone in now because we are not playing for anything.

“Because we are out of contention for the play-offs, it’s difficult to persuade players to come here.

“But I am already preparing for next season and I have a list of players in my head that I want to bring in.

“That list is growing every week and it is going to be a long summer.

“We have got to hit the ground running and bring in the players I want as soon as we can in the summer.”