MITCHELL Pinnock is loving life in Southend United’s first team squad and has his sights set on staying there next season.

The 18-year-old left winger came off the bench in two of Blues’ final three games of the season.

And, having come through the ranks at Roots Hall, the teenager is keen to remain part of Phil Brown’s plans.

“It was really exciting coming on in the games and I will work hard now to try to make sure I get even more appearances,” said Pinnock.

“The manager seems to really back the youth set up here and our young players, which is really good, so I will work hard during the close season and pre-season ready for next year.

“My long term target is to be the number 11 for Southend and that’s definitely what I’m working towards.”

Pinnock joined the Shrimpers as an under-15 player having previously spent seven years with Arsenal.

The youngster, who lives in Dartford, was recommended to join the League Two club by the Gunners.

And he believes more talented teenagers could soon start to work their way into the first team at Roots Hall.

“There’s a very good youth set up here and I was lucky to be a part of it,” said Pinnock.

“When I was released by Arsenal I was told Southend would be a good club to join and they were right.

“There was me, Seedy (Njie) and Ryan (Auger) on the bench at the weekend, along with Daniel Bentley, who has played quite a few games too.

“There was Kane Ferdinand before him too and I’m sure more will come through because Ricky Duncan and the coaches do a great job and I know I certainly owe them a lot.”

But Pinnock’s introduction was unable to help Blues get back into the game against Morecambe at the weekend as they were beaten 1-0 on the final day of the season.

That frustrated Pinnock, who came on to replace Gavin Tomlin midway through the second half, and was presented with a half chance to score in front of goal.

“It was disappointing to lose but it just wasn’t our day,” said the teenager. “We had chances to score but the one that came my way took me by surprise.

“I thought the defender in front of me was going to clear it and I should probably have reacted better than I did. But hopefully I’ll be able to do better next time and get my first goal.”