Date: 23rd July 2014 at 2:04pm
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Phil Brown has had a word in Sam Allardyce’s ear to find out what the score was with Daniel Bentley and a reported West Ham United interest in our goalkeeper? He’s happy to report back in his interview with the Echo that there’s nothing to it.

Allardyce, during the conversation with Brown, didn’t ‘make reference to wanting’ the Southend goalkeeper so that speculation is over? Isn’t it?

Brown did go on to pay tribute to Paul Smith though following his performance in our behind closed doors friendly win over rivals Colchester United on Tuesday saying that he feels the goalkeeper, given a new contract this summer, is looking in the best shape he’s seen in a while with the pre season he’s had, which he hasn’t in recent years, really helping him.

Continued displays like this, and training well, and Brown says that Smith could challenge Bentley let alone be his understudy. As long as it’s not a case of replacing him, a cynic might think that Smith’s form is being praised to soften the blow of Bentley departing!

We’re also continuing to look at plenty of options this summer, a number of trialists have been looked at with another batch released with more coming in.

Former Gillingham central defender Mads Ibenfeldt, who impressed against us last summer for the League 1 side in pre season, is now on trial with us as is former Queens Park Rangers winger Angelo Balanta, who spent a prolonged trial spell with Bradford City recently. Gavin Hoyte and Roman-Michael Percil have now ended their trials but Craig Fagan continues to be a possible option.

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