LEWIS Gard and Tom Clifford have both been offered professional contracts at Southend United.

Midfielder Gard made two substitute appearances for the Shrimpers first team towards the end of last season while left-back Clifford impressed Blues’ coaches during a loan spell with Bishop’s Stortford.

And the duo have been offered a year long professional deal with the option of an extra year, much to the delight of the Shrimpers’ academy manager Ricky Duncan.

“Lewis and Tom both had great seasons last year and they’ve been offered professional contracts now,” said Duncan.

“Lewis took a lot from the loan spell he had at Aveley and we’ve had a few youngsters go there now and get a lot from it.

“We have a good relationship with the people there and more of the lads could go there in the future.

“Tom also showed what he could do in his loan spell at Bishop’s Stortford and he’s been offered a pro deal now too.”

Blues’ have also activated year long clauses in the contracts of defender Sonny Coutts, midfielder Joe Bedford, goalkeeper Josh Bexon and attacker Renei Batlokwa.

The Shrimpers have also made improved offers to attacker Harry Phillips and midfielder Michael Klass along with goal-getting striker Norman Wabo.