KEEPER Mark Travers described as “a great stepping stone” his leap into becoming Cherries’ first-choice stopper this season.

The Republic of Ireland international had a taste of first-team action under both Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall at Cherries, before spending some of last season on loan at Swindon Town.

But the departure of Asmir Begovic meant Travers had the chance to step between the sticks once again with the Dorset club.

He has since fought off competition from Will Dennis and new recruit Orjan Nyland to keep his spot in Scott Parker’s unbeaten Championship side.

Maynooth-born Travers said: “It’s always uncertainty coming into pre-season but my main focus was always just trying to impress the new staff and the manager – and try to gain some trust with them.

“Luckily the manager, all the staff, Burchy (Rob Burch) the goalkeeping coach, Gaz (Stewart), have worked really hard with me.

“It’s been a great stepping stone and hopefully I can keep showing their faith in me and keep on putting on good performances.

“I am just delighted they have given me this opportunity this season and (hopefully I can) keep hold of it with two hands.”