The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Phillips

SOUTHEND United man­ager Phil Brown backed goal­keeper Daniel Bent­ley to reach the very top of the game af­ter he se­cured the 50th clean sheet of his ca­reer in a goal­less draw at Roots Hall.

The 22-year-old did well to deny both Leon Bar­nett and Reece James to se­cure his lat­est shut-out for the Shrimpers.

And Brown be­lieves Bent­ley will go on to match the ca­reer of Wi­gan’s Jussi Jaaske­lainen who he worked with for sev­eral sea­sons at Bolton Wan­der­ers.

“Jussi is a good friend of mine, he’s had a top ca­reer but I’m sure Daniel Bent­ley will go on to have one too,” said Brown.

“Daniel is 22 so for him to have 50 clean sheets al­ready is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment and it meant he got an even big­ger hug from me than nor­mal.

“When I was a Bolton, Jussi was one of the best goal­keep­ers in the coun­try. We had to fend off in­ter­est from Arse­nal and Manch­ester United at one point and I do be­lieve Dan will get to that level too.

“I told him to an­a­lyse what Jussi did be­cause he’s a calm­ing in­flu­ence on his de­fend­ers and it was a really nice touch for him to give Daniel his shirt at the end of the game.”

Bent­ley’s clean sheet se­cured the eighth-placed Shrimpers a share of the spoils.

And Brown felt a draw was a fair re­sult.

“We had our mo­ments out there, we hit the bar and had a penalty shout but so did they so over­all a draw was about right,” added the Southend boss.

“There were two good foot­balling teams out there who were tac­ti­cally aware of what each other were do­ing.

“But their bud­get is five times what mine is, so it’s a good point, es­pe­cially as we’re seven or eight play­ers down at the mo­ment.”

How­ever, Southend rarely trou­bled vis­it­ing stop­per Jasske­lainen but he was nearly beaten af­ter just seven min­utes when in-form mid­fielder Ryan Leonard slammed a long-range shot against the cross­bar.

In re­ply, Wi­gan cen­tre-back Bar­nett saw an ef­fort cleared off the line by Will Atkinson be­fore he was de­nied by Bent­ley at the start of the sec­ond half.

Bent­ley also did well to palm away a long-range ef­fort from James be­fore Bar­nett slammed an in­jury-time ef­fort against the cross­bar.

And boss Gary Cald­well was dis­ap­pointed pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Wi­gan re­turned to the north west with just a point to show for their ef­forts.

“We had one off the line and one off the bar, so al­though a draw was a fair re­sult it was dis­ap­point­ing not to nick it,” said Cald­well, whose side re­main fifth in the ta­ble.

“When­ever Leon plays it’s event­ful and he was un­lucky not to score.

“He was a real nui­sance for them but he also de­fended well to help us get a pos­i­tive clean sheet. We have a big squad we need to use so I made a few changes to the team be­cause this is a tough, com­pet­i­tive league.

“We saw that again against Southend but we just have to keep on con­cen­trat­ing on what we do.”

PIC­TURES: Southend News & Pics

CHAL­LENGE: Southend’s Jack Payne flies in on the at­tack. Inset: Goal­keeper Dan Bent­ley keeps a Wi­gan shot at bay

PRAISE: Southend’s Phil Brown

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