STEVEN Benda confessed to holding a few nerves ahead of his Football League debut against Plymouth Argyle in October.

But those nerves have quickly been erased from his gut feeling pre-match, and he now relishes the promotion challenge that undoubtedly awaits Richie Wellens’ squad at the turn of the year.

The 21-year-old has been tipped to play at the highest level in the not too distant future by his current manager.

That follows a series of eye-catching performances that have seen Benda record four clean sheets in his opening 11 first-team appearances.

Ahead of Oldham’s visit to the County Ground on Saturday, Benda expressed the quite surreal feeling he has experienced between the sticks when representing Town this term.

He said: “It’s an incredible feeling when I see the fans every week and when they sing my name.

“You don’t get those experiences at under 23s level.

“When I played my first League Two game, there were a few nerves – 10,000 watched the game.

“But it’s now quite ordinary, I’m past that nervous stage now and enjoy playing.”

Benda’s rise has been to the detriment of Luke McCormick, who hasn’t played in a League Two game since Town’s visit to Bradford in October.

Though McCormick continues to push the Swansea youngster, Benda insists he will continue to express his confident style on the ball.

Ultimately, the shot stopper appreciates that learning from mistakes made in a pressurised environment will improve him as a player.

He added: “League Two is what I expected – lots of teams play long balls and it can be physical.

“We try and play football, which is good. That physical element isn’t present in games at under 23 level.

“Penalty areas are crowded, and it’s challenging. But that’s why I’m here, to learn.

“I know I’m going to make mistakes, but I have to keep going because it’s all about the direction I take after a mistake.

“I want to be even more aggressive, and louder, after a mistake. If you stop playing your game, then it is worse than making an actual mistake.

“You’ve got to be mentally strong at times. But it’s important to remember I’m only 21 – you can’t afford to think about those errors that happen.”