PHIL Brown believes his Southend United squad is the strongest it has ever been during his spell in charge.

Brown takes the Shrimpers to Accrington Stanley tomorrow for the opening day of the League Two season.

And he does so delighted by his summer’s work in the transfer market.

“We’ve brought in some quality players this week alone and I’m really pleased with the business we’ve done,” said Brown.

“We’ve kept the hardcore of last season’s squad together which was music to my ears and we’ve added some real quality too.

“Four players came in this week alone and I think the squad is stronger than last season and what I’ve had here before.

“But it’s all about proving that now and we have to approach it with the right kind of mentality.”

Brown has made eight signings since the end of last season which ended in play-off heartbreak for Blues, bringing in striker Lee Barnard on a permanent and also recruiting Mads Ibenfeldt, David Worrall, Myles Weston, Cian Bolger, Isaac Layne, Shaquile Coulthirst and Ellis Brown.

And he admits it has given him a selection headache for tomorrow’s clash at Accrington.

“I do have some tough decisions to make about the team and the system but that’s what management is all about,” said Brown.

“I’m not thinking about the disappointed faces of those being left out, I’m thinking about the happy faces of those being selected.

“It’s up to those who have been left out to prove me wrong and I will be looking at a few of them in the cup game against Walsall on Tuesday so the opportunities will be there for them.”

However, right now Brown is fully focused on the Accrington game and he is expecting a tricky afternoon against James Beattie’s side.

“Accrington had a bad start to last season but really turned things around to end strongly and will be looking to carry that form on,” said Brown.

“It’s a tough game for us to have to start off with but we’re all really looking forward to getting underway.”