SOUTHEND United’s under 21 coach Kevin Maher has declared himself happy with the fitness levels of his squad.

The Blues youngsters were back in training at the weekend.

And Maher was pleased to see the group in good shape.

“We give all of them programmes to follow throughout the summer and it was clear that everyone had followed them because the fitness levels were good, which was great to see,” said the former Shrimpers midfielder.

“It’s all a lot different nowadays and it would have been easy to spot if anyone hadn’t put the work in but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

“It’s good to be back with the group and everyone is looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Blues have added former QPR midfielder Michael Klass to their squad since the end of last season.

Klass played as a trialist at the end of the previous campaign and is now preparing for the new season with the Shrimpers.

Blues’ under 21s begin their pre-season campaign away to Chelsea under 23s on Saturday July 15 before also facing Lowestoft Town, Thurrock, Maidstone United and Colchester United in friendlies.

The Shrimpers are then expected to begin their season in late August but have yet to receive their official fixture list.