SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is excited to be starting the 2017/18 season at home to Blackburn Rovers.

Blackburn were relegated from the Championship last term.

And Brown believes it has the making of an excellent first fixture.

"I think it's a brilliant game to start the season with and I'm excited about it already if I'm honest," said Brown.

"It doesn't seem that long ago that Blackburn Rovers won the Premier League title and they are still a big club.

"They've fallen on hard times recently and find themselves in League One but they will be looking to get promotion next season so this is going to be a real test.

"I'm sure they will be bringing a big away following and there will be a really good atmosphere."

After taking on Blackburn on Saturday August 5 the Shrimpers travel to Rotherham United who were also relegated from the Championship last season.

And Brown immediately noticed how many of the new teams in League One Blues will be facing in the first few months of the campaign.

"We got the fixtures through at 6.30am and the first thing I noticed was how many of the relegated and promoted teams we play in the first few weeks of the season," said Brown.

"I think other than Portsmouth we play them all in the first couple of months so it's going to be an interesting period.

"We will learn a lot in that time but it's going to be a difficult division.

"You go through the fixtures and it really does show that there are going to be no easy games in League One next season."

Blues host Charlton Athletic on Boxing Day before ending the season at home to Bristol Rovers in early May.

The Shrimpers will begin their preparations on Friday June 30 when the squad reports back in for the start of pre-season training.

However, Brown has yet to make a signing this summer.

"It’s been slow," said the 58-year--old.

"I wanted to get my business done early but the market is dictating.

"One or two clubs have invested already but they’re paying over the odds.

"I think there’s a market out there which I’m sticking to and I won’t be hold over a barrel by the market or player.

"It’s ticking along where we're concerned and we have two or three players on the go who would be significant improvements."