SOUTHEND United’s under 18 side have begun preparing for what coach Dave Huzzey hopes will be another successful season for the Shrimpers young guns.

Blues have taken on board nine new first year scholars.

And Huzzey is looking forward to being reunited with the new group.

“We’ve got nine new scholars who have just signed and they are from the age-group I first took when I came to the club in the academy so I already know quite a few of them,” said Huzzey.

“It’s good to see how they’ve come on and there are a few new faces in there as well.

“They’re really good lads and they’ve been really successful as under 16s too.

“They got to the area finals and narrowly lost to Exeter so it will be exciting to see how they get on in full time football.”

Goalkeeper Harry Seaden, defenders Marley Hutchings - son of former Blues defender Carl - Sam Knock, Miles Nelson and Ide Osimeh have all signed scholarship deals along with midfielders Jon Benton, O’Shane Stewart and strikers Terrell Egbri and Matt Rush.

And Huzzey has already been impressed by their work-rate in pre-season training.

“Everyone has come back in with the right attitude and this is a really good group,” said Huzzey.

“The summer seems to fly by every year but all the staff have been in preparing for the next four weeks because it’s an important time of year.”

The Shrimpers youngsters begin their campaign in August.

And they will prepare by taking on a number of teams in a variety of pre-season friendlies.

“We’re playing Exeter, Chelsea, Charlton, Millwall, Brighton and Watford so we have a lot of good games against different categories,” Huzzey added.

“It’s going to be a good test ahead of the new season.”