SOUTHEND United are set to send some of their best young talent on loan to Austria next season.

The Shrimpers have linked up with FC Kitzbuhel.

And Blues’ head of youth Ricky Duncan believes playing abroad will be a great experience for the club’s youngsters.

“I think going out there will be of huge benefit both on and off the pitch for our lads,” said Duncan.

“We’ve been over to see them and their president has been over to see us too so I think this is something which could work really well.

“We tried something similar before with CD Javea in Spain a few years ago now but I don’t think we were really ready for it.

“However, this time we are and I think it’s going to be of great benefit.”

Goalkeeper Josh Bexon looks set to be the first Shrimpers youngster to sign on loan for the Austrians who are also keen on bringing in a striker from Roots Hall.

And Duncan was impressed by what Kitzbuhel had to offer during his stay.

“It’s a really well run club and they were very professional in everything that they did,” said Duncan.

“I would say the standard is the same as our Conference but they’ve just been promoted so we’re waiting to find out more about the level they will be playing at next season.

“They count themselves as professional but they have two jobs and train every evening.

“I’m really excited about putting this together and think it’s definitely going to help us develop our players.

“Their assistant manager Sean Caldwell is English and we both know what each other want from this.”