MARK Bentley believes Ryan Melaugh’s brace in Canvey Island’s thumping 5-0 FA Trophy preliminary round win over Middlesex’s Ashford Town will fill the returning winger with confidence.

In an interview with Echosport during the summer, Bentley tipped Melaugh to enjoy a productive season with the Gulls.

However, an injury blighted the former Tilbury man’s start to the season and Bentley feels two goals in just his second appearance since the lay-off will give Melaugh a psychological boost.

The Canvey chief said: “The two goals will do loads for Ryan’s confidence.

“It was really good to see him back on the pitch on Saturday and then complete 90 minutes on Tuesday.

“He’s someone who hasn’t stopped working and he was unfortunate to pick up an injury in pre-season, but he is here every session and works his socks off.

“Ryan is such a good lad and he is a good player when he is on-form, nice and relaxed.

“Having him back in the group is a massive positive for us.

“Hopefully we can get him stronger so that he can become injury-free.”

The Gulls’ Tobi Joseph broke the deadlock against Ashford just before half-time.

And Canvey ran away with the tie in the second goal, scoring four unanswered goals.

A Melaugh rocket was followed up by Alex Stephenson nodding home his first goal for the club.

Melaugh then doubled his tally before Kane Gilbert came off the bench to round off the rout.

And, while he was pleased to see central defender Stephenson make a goalscoring return following time on the treatment table, Bentley is closing in on welcoming some fresh faces to Park Lane.

Bentley added: “It was Alex’s first game for four or five weeks, so that was another positive.

“We have lost Elliott Warren to an ankle problem and we don’t know how long he will be out for.

“We’re still looking to add to the squad and we are talking to a couple of players at the moment.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get something over the line soon, with one potentially joining before the weekend.

“We are still quite a small group and I just want to add a little bit more quality.”

Danny Confrey was between the sticks as first choice goalkeeper Lamar Johnson continues to recover from an injury and Bentley hailed the youngster.

“Dan is only 17 but showed no nerves and his distribution was unbelievable,” admitted Bentley.

“He is a kid that has a big future in the game.”