SOUTHEND United striker Stephen Humphrys knows his season-saving strike against Sunderland will count for nothing next term.

Humphrys kept Blues up with a last-gasp winner against the Black Cats on the final day of the previous campaign.

But the forward knows he will need to prove his worth again in the months ahead with Simon Cox, Tom Hopper, Theo Robinson and Brandon Goodship also pushing for starting slots in attack.

“My goal against Sunderland counts for nothing now and I have to do all I can to get in the team and then stay there,” said Humphrys.

“I was pleased to get into double figures last year but I want a lot more this season.”

Humphrys joined Blues from Fulham back in January and made a fine start, scoring four goals in his first seven games.

However, the 21-year-old suffered a horrific facial injury when netting against Accrington Stanley, suffering a broken nose, cheekbone and eye-socket before he returned to action wearing a protective mask towards the end of the campaign.

But Humphrys cannot wait to play mask free.

“Honestly the day I can get rid of the mask will be one of the best days ever,” said the striker.

“I have another new one to wear against Reading on Saturday but it’s much lighter.

“I still have to wear it because I had another operation on my nose the other week and I have to protect that still.

“But the injury and everything I went through after that meant it was one of the worst moments of my career.

“Hopefully by the time the season starts I won’t have to wear a mask anymore and I can go back to playing normally.”

But that is not Humphrys’ only aim.

“We have to be higher up the table,” he added.