David Raya Martin’s Southport swan song ended in heartbreak but boss Gary Brabin is determined to re-sign the heroic keeper.
Raya Martin starred in the Conference strugglers’ cruel 1-0 stoppage-time defeat to Championship high flyers Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday.
But since the clash, the 19-year-old Spaniard’s loan spell ended and he returned to Blackburn Rovers.
Raya Martin’s return means Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer now has five keepers at his disposal with Jason Steele, Simon Eastwood, veteran shot-stopper Paul Robinson and Jake Kean all fighting for the gloves.
With Bowyer’s wealth of keepers – and the little matter of Blackburn’s transfer embargo – Brabin is hoping the ‘heartbreaking’ third-round exit will not be Raya Martin’s last for Southport.
He said: “David was excellent – he has played like that all season for us. I am hoping we can keep hold of him for a little bit longer.”
Raya Martin made several impressive saves before Chris Martin’s 92nd-minute penalty spared Rams boss Steve McClaren’s blushes.
Former England gaffer McClaren hailed the youngster for his ‘outstanding’ performance and Port boss Brabin believes Raya Martin has a bright future ahead.
Brabin said: “He showcased himself on a big stage.
“It was heartbreaking to lose. I said beforehand that we wanted to go to Pride Park and showcase the lads – and we did that.”
The Sandgrounders entertain Burscough in the Liverpool Senior Cup tonight before facing Chester in the league on January, 17.
Brabin’s side are 20th in the Conference table and he is still bursting with pride after his men nearly caused a cup upset at Pride Park and hailed the Port fans.
He said: “The supporters were incredible. It was a cruel way to lose but our overall performance was excellent.
“I’m very proud of the lads. We’ve got a break after tonight’s match and hopefully the cup game will boost the rest of our season.”