SOUTHEND United’s under-18 side started their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 win at Exeter City.

Goals from Charlie Kelman and Jon Benton saw the Shrimpers triumph in Devon.

And coach Dave Huzzey remains happy with how his new look side are shaping up.

“It went really well in our first pre-season game at the weekend and I thought the boys conducted themselves well too,” said Huzzey.

“We’re obviously a new group with the first years coming into the squad and we also used six of the under-16s which was pleasing as they did well and one them, Charlie, scored.

“We wanted them involved so most of the boys could play 45 minutes.

“But some of them played a bit more because they are fit enough to do so.”

The Shrimpers’ game came after a hard week in training.

And it also provided a competitive challenge for the group.

“I was really pleased with our first week back in together but the game was a completely different test because it becomes competitive for everyone,” said Huzzey.

“That’s obviously what you need and it’s given us some problems we need to iron out in training.

“That’s brilliant though because I couldn’t fault the boys up until the match began.

“However, this has given us something to look at now.

“The first half, in particular, wasn’t great.

“But in the second half we really pushed on.

“We’ll have a look at it again and some of the things that went on and then we’ll look to improve while continuing to get fitter because that’s obviously what pre-season is all about.”

The Shrimpers will now continue their pre-season schedule against Brighton & Hove Albion on Wednesday before facing Millwall on Saturday.

And Huzzey is looking forward to both tests.

“They’re two strong teams but that’s what we want and need at this stage,” said Huzzey.

“It’s not about the results at this stage, it’s about getting ready for the season ahead and these games will definitely help with that.”

Huzzey also confirmed that midfielder Harry Cuthbert had been named as captain for the youth team this season.