SOUTHEND United have triggered a year long clause in Simon Cox's contract, keeping the striker at the club until the end of the 2019/20 season.

Cox has scored 38 goals in 132 games for Blues since signing in the summer of 2016.

And the 31-year-old is pleased to be staying with the Shrimpers.

"I'm happy to be staying," said Cox.

"I said when I signed in the summer that this season for me was going to be a lot about goals and my contribution to the team, and I feel like so far I’ve delivered on what I said so long may it continue.

“I always want to play in every game and I like to start in games so if I’m starting it obviously means I’m doing something right and I’m delivering, whether that be goals, assists or performances."

Cox has netted 12 goals so far this season and is in line to be the first Blues forward since Freddy Eastwood to top the scoring charts three seasons running.

But Cox is keen to keep playing a key part for the Shrimpers.

“I feel in good shape and there’s no need for me to be slowing down,” said Cox.

“I train every day if I can and I just want to play as many games as possible and continue the good form that I’ve been showing recently.

“In my first year there was probably four or maybe five penalties in there. If it was four then that’s 12 from open play. I’ve only scored one penalty this year so I’m on course to equal my record from open play which is pleasing in itself.

"But hopefully we can finish the season strong and I can beat my tally from the first season of 16."

Cox will also be looking to impress next season with the Shrimpers and is pleased to have secured his future far earlier than before the start of the current campaign.

“Last summer was very stressful because I always wanted to stay and there was a lot of toing and froing from the club’s point of view and my point of view," said Cox.

"I wanted to get it done as quickly as possible but it seemed to take a lot longer than it needed to.

“But at least this year to have it extended nice and early and it gives me a bit of stability going into next season. Hopefully I can play more games next season and maybe even extend it again next year.

“My aim is to continue playing football, continue enjoying it and to stay fit.”

And Shrimpers boss Chris Powell is also pleased to have secured Cox's services for another season.

“Simon has definitely earned himself this extra year," said Powell.

"He’s worked hard for it and we need to keep him working as hard as he can.

“At times everyone can see why he’s played international and Premier League football.

“Since I’ve come into the club I recognised he’s a player that can score goals and create goals. He’s a clever player, he’s a player that I feel can score even more goals.

"He does sacrifice himself to help the team out, but already he’s got 12 which is great for him.

“With the games left he can really get a good total and it shows that he still wants to improve by bettering last year. With this deal he will want to get even more next season.

“Tom Hopper and Simon definitely showed signs of a partnership with the goals that they both scored in the early part of the season and now Stephen Humphrys has come into the equation. We’re hoping we can build on that even further next year.”