SOUTHEND United will head off to Spain for the start of pre-season training on Friday morning.

The Shrimpers will spend the next seven days in Malaga.

And Blues’ assistant manager Graham Coughlan believes the trip will be of huge benefit.

“Where we’re going has top class facilities and it’s going to be really good for the squad,” said Coughlan.

“Pre-season is notoriously a time footballers don’t look forward to but it’s actually an exciting time too because everyone is back together again after the summer break.

“The warm weather is going to be an advantage and it will also be good for team bonding, “We have the new signings coming with us and a few of the younger lads as well so there’s a nice mixture and it will help lay the foundations for what we want to be a successful season.

“But it’s going to be hard work and the players will be training three times a day while we’re out there.”

New left-back Stephen Hendrie will travel to Spain with the Shrimpers after signing a two year deal with the club, while experienced centre-back Michael Turner will also be making the trip.

The 33-year-old has agreed terms with Blues and will spend the next week with the club with a view to making the move permanent.

However, Coughlan is also certain others will be looking to impress.

“Pre-season is a good chance for the younger players to catch the manager’s eye as well,” said the Irishman.

“I’m sure they will be looking to impress and be in the manager’s thoughts when it comes to him picking his team for the first couple of pre-season games.”

Blues will take on Partick Thistle in a behind closed doors clash after returning home.

But their pre-season campaign will be vastly different to the one Coughlan endured during his own playing career.

“When I was a player we would just run for the first two weeks back but it’s not like that at all now,” said Coughlan.

“There’s a lot more strength and conditioning work going on and lots more work with the ball than there used to be as well. But it’s an important time of the year and I’m looking forward to getting started.”