Southend better equipped for promotion than Bury - Belford

Cameron Belford

On-loan keeper Cameron Belford believes Southend United are better equipped to win promotion than his parent club Bury were last season.

The 23-year-old has moved to Roots Hall for a one-month spell and has kept clean sheets in his first two games.

He has promotion credentials after escaping League Two with the Quakers.

"From my own experience playing with Bury last year, this side is more capable of doing exactly the same as that side," he told BBC Essex.

"There's some really good players in there. If we stick together like we have done the last two games we've got a great chance of gaining promotion."

The third-placed Shrimpers finished Monday's 0-0 draw against top-six rivals Crawley with nine men.

Defender Chris Barker saw red for handling on the line while striker Liam Dickinson came off injured after Southend boss Paul Sturrock had used all three of his substitutes.

But Belford, who has played 27 times for Bury this season, made a string of fine saves, including stopping Billy Clarke's penalty, to salvage an unlikely point.

Despite previous reports of indiscipline behind the scenes at Roots Hall, the shot-stopper says the Southend squad has the commitment to secure a top-three finish in League Two.

"Reading between the lines I know there's been a few problems but since I've been here the lads have been excellent," he said.

"They've shown a lot of togetherness and there's a lot of lads who really want this club to do well."

Sturrock, who admitted the draw felt like a win, was delighted with Belford's performance.

"He looks about 35 but he's only 23, people forget that," said the Scot.

"He's got a great kick on him and he's so keen to do well he's infectious, the boys have taken to him already."

Dickinson is likely to have a scan on the ankle injury which saw him taken off with nine minutes remaining.