SOUTHEND United will begin their pre-season campaign with a behind closed doors clash against Scottish Premiership side Partick Thistle on Saturday.

Blues boss Phil Brown will field a different 11 in each half.

And he is looking forward to seeing his squad in action.

“We will be mixing things up a little but it will be good to get going again,” said Brown.

“As usual we will be starting off with a different 11 in each half and we’re going to be mixing things up in terms of junior and senior players.

“I think Partick Thistle will be playing a different 11 in each half as well and I think it’s going to be a good game for us to start off with.”

Goalkeeper Mark Oxley - who has not played for the Shrimpers first team since December after suffering two elbow injuries in quick succession - will be fit to play, along with fellow shot-stopper Ted Smith.

Smith missed the final seven games of last season with a wrist problem.

But he will return this weekend along with left-back Ben Coker, who has recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss the last six games of the previous campaign.

Trialist striker Zak Ansah, the son of Blues legend Andy, will also feature in the game along with summer signing Stephen Hendrie.

But right-back Jason Demetriou may not play.

“Jason played longer than everyone else last season because when we had finished he went away and played internationally with Cyprus,” said Brown.

“He may not play in the same number of matches as the others because he hasn’t had the same kind of break and I’m not sure just yet if he’s going to play at the weekend.

“We will be monitoring him and he will be playing when he feels as though he needs a game for his fitness levels.”

Partick Thistle finished sixth in the Scottish Premiership standings last season and are preparing for the forthcoming campaign with a week long training camp in Colchester.

While in England, Alan Archibald’s side will also be taking on National League South side Hampton & Richmond Borough in another behind closed doors pre-season friendly.