MARK Bentley wants Sam Bantick to haunt his former club when Canvey Island visit Heybridge Swifts tomorrow.

Bantick, who enjoyed a prolific spell with Heybridge and scored as the club made a memorable trip to Exeter City in the first round of the FA Cup in 2017, has joined the Gulls.

The attacker made his Canvey debut in the 3-0 defeat to Histon last weekend and Bentley is pleased to have finally welcomed Bantick to Park Lane after numerous previous attempts.

“I’m really pleased to have brought Bano to the club,” said Bentley, who took charge of the Gulls 14 months ago.

“He is someone that I have tried to sign three times since I have been at the club.

“I had not been able to bring him to the club in the past for whatever reason and he has had six clubs since I have been at Canvey.

“When I spoke to him on this occasion, I said he needed to settle down at a club and enjoy his football.

“We reached an agreement which is comfortably within our budget.

“I want him to enjoy his football with us and do his talking on the pitch.

“He will add more firepower to our squad.

“We have got some really good options going forward but I’m hoping that he will add that little bit extra that we didn’t originally have.”

Canvey and Heybridge were among the pre-season favourites to fight for promotion from the Isthmian North this term.

Heybridge overcame Maldon & Tiptree in last season’s play-off final but, due to the restructuring of the non-league pyramid, they missed out on promotion under former Canvey Island left-back Julian Dicks.

Dicks then left Heybridge in the summer to join the backroom staff of former West Ham United team-mate Slaven Bilic at West Bromwich Albion, which resulted in Colchester United legend Karl Duguid being appointed manager.

Heybridge will head into this weekend’s clash at the Aspen Waite Arena sitting level on points with Isthmian North table-toppers Bury Town.

Canvey, meanwhile, are sitting in 13th place and playing catch-up after prolonged runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy.

While he is looking to make ground on those above the Gulls in the standings, Bentley concedes it will be difficult to bag all three points against a Heybridge side brimming with confidence.

And Bentley will be unable to call upon suspended central defender Mike Finneran for the trip.

“Heybridge are flying and Alex Teniola is scoring goals for fun,” added Bentley.

“Finners is suspended, so we are trying to get a centre-half into the club before the weekend.

“But we know that won’t be easy and James White did well in that position in the midweek Isthmian League Cup win over Tilbury, so that is an option.

“We bounced back from the defeat to Histon last week by beating Tilbury and the boys have got to keep that winning menality.”