SOUTHEND United started their pre-season campaign with a 0-0 draw against Scottish Premiership side Partick Thistle this afternoon.

Shrimpers midfielder Ryan Leonard came closest to scoring when his long range shot struck the right post in the first half.

But Blues boss Phil Brown was pleased with his side’s work-out.

“Partick are a week or two ahead of us in their pre-season but it was a good exercise for us in terms of fitness,” said the 58-year-old.

“It was a worthwhile exercise and I always love clean sheets but we have plenty to work on at the other end.”

Southend fielded a different 11 in each half.

And Brown was happy to see youngsters Emile Acquah and Dru Yearwood produce solid performances.

“Emile came in and Dru Yearwood both looked comfortable so there were plenty of positives and one or two of these young lads could be pushing for a place,” said Brown.

“Some have impressed while out in Spain and they have certainly got the respect of the dressing room.”

Acquah – who ended last season in fine scoring fashion for Blues’ under 21s saw a downward header well saved in the first half before Leonard struck the right post from 25 yards.

However, at the other end of the field, Southend goalkeeper Mark Oxley made four good saves on his return from an elbow injury first since just before Christmas.

And Brown was delighted to see Oxley back in action.

“It was good to see Mark back out there,” said Brow.

“He has one hell of a scar on his elbow but his communication skills are first class and you can really hear that in this kind of games.

“He made some good saves and it’s good to have him back.”

However, at the other end of the field, Jack Bridge was forced off injured in the second half while Marc-Antoine Fortune missed out due to his journey back from Spain.

“Marco drove back from Spain so here was no way he was going to play after an 18 hour drive,” said Brown.

“He’ll play against Ipswich in the week but we’re not sure about Jack.

“He’s something wrong in and around his abdomen area which we need to get to the bottom of.”

Southend first half: Oxley, White, Ferdinand, Kyprianou, Coker, Ansah, Leonard, Yearwood, McLaughlin, Cox, Acquah

Second half: Smith, Bwomono, Trialist, Matsuzaka, Hendrie, McGlashan, Bedford, Timlin, Cotton, Bridge (Batlokwa), Robinson