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Southend United's Phil Brown wants early contract talks with key players
SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is keen to start offering his key players new deals to remain at Roots Hall.
Kevan Hurst, Ryan Leonard, Freddy Eastwood, Mark Phillips and Anthony Straker are among those who will be out of contact at the end of the season.
And Brown wants negotiations to begin sooner than they did last term to try and avoid losing more influential players on free transfers.
“I’ve made recommendations to the board with regards to offering some players new deals.
“And I hope offers will be put to them in the near future,” said Brown.
“I made reference to it at a board meeting and it’s my job as manager to be constantly analysing my players and staff.
“When you have people with quality, like we do at the moment, you obviously want to keep hold of them.
“They’re of value to the football club.
“And that’s why I want to start talking about contracts quite soon and not leave it until the end of the season.”
Blues lost player of the year Sean Clohessy on a free transfer at the end of last season along with joint top goalscorer Gavin Tomlin.
At the time Brown questioned why contract talks with the influential players had not started sooner before his arrival and is now keen to avoid a similar situation this summer.
The former Hull City chief has put together a competitive squad at Southend and the team currently sit seventh in the League Two table, just three points behind second placed Chesterfield.
But Brown remains frustrated by Blues’ shock 1-0 defeat at struggling Torquay United last Saturday.
And he now wants to see the right kind of response when his side host Rochdale, who sit level on 33 points with Southend, at Roots Hall tomorrow evening.
“It’s about the response to the defeat, not really a reaction, and it’s a big game for us now,” said Brown.
“Rochdale will certainly want to get the ball down and play, just like ourselves.
“And hopefully the pitch can hold out for that to happen so we can see a good game of football and, most importantly, a win for us,” added Brown.