SOUTHEND United begin what manager Chris Powell is determined to make a successful season with a trip to Great Wakering Rovers tomorrow.

Powell took charge of the Shrimpers for the final 18 games of the previous campaign and secured a 10th place finish.

But the Blues boss is now eager to maintain that progress and is looking forward to his side’s first pre-season friendly of the summer.

“We need to hit the ground running,” said Powell.

“We have one aim and one objective this season, we want to get out of this division upwards, end of.

“Last season was great and we have to carry that on because it was top six form and that has to be our aim this year.

“The ground work for that starts now and it will be good going to Great Wakering.”

Wakering were crowned Essex Senior League champions last season and are now preparing for the forthcoming campaign in Isthmian North.

And Powell is happy to be heading to Burroughs Park for a game which kicks off at 12.30pm.

“I’m pleased to be going to Wakering,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“It’s important to keep our links with teams in the area and it will be good to get the matches started too.

“The players have been working hard and to be honest I wouldn’t have expected anything else.

“We will work them hard again today and then everyone will get 45 minutes at Wakering.

“We will field a different line up in each half.”

Blues new boys Sam Barratt, Tom Hopper, Luke Hyam, Sam Mantom, Timothee Dieng and Harry Lennon are all set to feature.

But Powell is still keen to bring in more players.

“We’re still looking for more signings and I want one or two more,” said the 48-year-old.

“I want us to be bigger and better and be in contention but it’s very open this year.

“Traditionally the sides coming down from the Championship you look at.

“You don’t know what Sunderland are going to do or Barnsley but Burton with Nigel Clough, he knows what it’s about.

“The teams coming up you don’t know if the momentum can keep them going but I do think it’s very open.

“We want to make sure we’re up there but we know it’s going to be tough.

“The players will be ready for that though and the hard work has already begun.”

Blues - who will head out to Spain for six days following tomorrow’s friendly with Wakering - will have trialist right-back Ben Mundele in their squad this weekend.

The 19-year-old lined up for Cray Wanderers in Isthmian South last season.