SOUTHEND United start their pre-season schedule at Great Wakering Rovers tomorrow having missed out on another of their transfer targets.

Kwesi Appiah, who the Shrimpers had been hoping to sign on loan from Crystal Palace, has instead opted to join Cambridge United.

And Blues boss Phil Brown believes Appiah’s previous spell with the U’s led to the striker choosing to go back there.

“Kwesi knows the people at Cambridge, he’s been there before and it went well for him which is why I think he has chosen to go back,” said Brown.

“He scored at a ratio of higher than one goal every two games when he was there before and I’m disappointed we haven’t been able to get him.

“He has that pace I want to get into our attack, which we had when Jamar Loza was with us, but we will now look at alternatives.

“We have about four or five other strikers we are talking to and I would expect things to start shaping up very soon.”

Echosport understands Blues financially matched Cambridge’s offer to the 23-year-old.

But Brown has made just the one signing so far this summer, bringing in Myles Weston on a free transfer after he was released by Gillingham.

And he will be lining up for Blues when they take on Great Wakering Rovers at Burroughs Park tomorrow.

“We’re all looking forward to getting the games underway and the players are in good shape,” said Brown.

“Obviously we haven’t done much positional play or ball work but fitness wise everyone is in great condition and, on average, the squad’s body fat levels are below 10 per cent.

“We had a great week in Spain and now we want to step up our preparations in the games.”

Brown has yet to finalise which trialists will line up for the Shrimpers at Burroughs Park but he will be fielded a different starting line-up in each half.

Former Hull City striker Craig Fagan is expected to figure but Spanish midfielder Alberto De Las Heras will not be in action until Blues head to Billericay Town on Tuesday night.

Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 1pm.