SOUTHEND United will spend five days in Dorset during pre-season.

The Shrimpers have headed to Spain in recent summers during the build-up to the League One campaign.

But Kevin Bond has opted to take his Blues side closer to home and has also organised a friendly at National League South side Weymouth.

“It’s important to get the boys together and away from the training ground,” said Blues’ boss.

“You want to get away from the training ground for all sorts of reasons.

“You save your pitches, plus you’re going to be spending so much time there over the course of the season that it’s nice to get in a different environment away from what you’re used to.

“It’s good to get the players all together on a daily basis and work hard on the football where you’ve got the boys to yourself morning, noon and night.”

And Bond is fully aware of what will await the Shrimpers, who will also play another friendly behind closed doors.

“Dorset is a place I know very well,” said Bond.

“I’ve been down there many times at nearly every club I’ve been at.

“I never really felt the need to go abroad - as long as the weather is OK, then it’s fine.

“We’ve managed to get away for five nights with a game against Weymouth on the way down and a game behind closed doors on the way back.

“We’ll play there on the Friday night, rest up after the game and then we can train on the Saturday and get five good training sessions in before we come home.

“That will be nice and I don’t think many of the boys will have been down there before. It will be hard work but they’ll enjoy it. Everyone flies off here, there and everywhere, but I think you don’t necessarily have to do that. We’ve found that where we’re going ticks a lot of the boxes for us.”

Blues, who will also take on Billericay Town, Dagenham & Redbridge and Millwall in pre-season, face Weymouth on Friday, July 12.

And Bond is pleased with the way things are taking shape.

“Once we get the first week of training out of the way, we need games weekend, midweek, weekend, midweek right up until the last week,” said Bond.

“It’s very difficult because we were trying to arrange these things a little bit later than most other teams.

“We’re pretty much there now, with maybe one other important fixture to resolve.”