RICHIE Wellens might have missed out on signing his number one goalkeeping target this summer, but the Swindon Town manager expressed his pleasure with regards to Steven Benda’s performances in recent weeks.

Benda, 21, pulled off a handful of key saves during Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Walsall as Town moved into the League Two automatic promotion places following a third victory in 10 days.

Young Swansea City stopper Benda, who signed on a season-long loan deal hours before the closure of the summer transfer window, has been marked as Wellens’ current first choice pick between the sticks amid Luke McCormick’s battle to regain confidence.

Despite making a shaky start which coincided with the conclusion of Town’s seven-game blip, Benda has noticeably stepped up to the Football League challenge by conceding just once in his last 270 minutes of play.

And Wellens was complimentary of the German’s size and reach after watching Town serve themselves a tremendous confidence boost ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup first round visit to Cheltenham Town.

“Steven Benda didn’t have too much to do, but his save at the end was fantastic,” said Wellens.

“My heart was in my mouth, I thought it was going to be a goal. But Steven is six-feet-five. His arm span is huge – he has the physique to pull those saves off.

“I won’t fault him for the goal. In these conditions, if you whip flat balls in and the wind picks up the speed of the ball, they become hard to defend.

“The goal was offside also, so we were unlucky there. If we saw the game through for another five minutes, we could’ve started to pick Walsall off.

“Once Walsall scored, the weather picked up and gave them a lifeline. And to be fair to Walsall, they kept going until the end.”

Benda’s save at the conclusion of Saturday’s game is open to debate, with replays suggesting the visitors’ effort from the penalty spot deflected off of Rob Hunt’s body.

Regardless of how it stayed out, Wellens – who later this month will mark a calendar year since he took over at SN1 – is pleased with his options in goal.

He added: “I’m happy with my goalkeeping department. You never know what can happen, Luke McCormick could go down injured or be suspended, so it’s important you have the right back-up.

“We missed out on one during the summer, but I’d rather miss out on players than get someone in that could be a mistake.

“We waited for two players on deadline day. Steven was one of them and he agreed to come.”