FORMER Southend United goalkeeper Simon Royce is the new goalkeeping coach at Gillingham.

Royce lined up in the top flight with Charlton Athletic and Leicester City after leaving the Shrimpers in 1998.

But the 47-year-old, who made 169 appearances for Blues, will now continue his coaching career in Kent, much to the delight of manager Steve Evans.

“I’ve interviewed a number of very qualified goalkeeper coaches over the last few weeks and it would be fair to say the outstanding candidate was indeed Simon,” said Evans.

“Obviously Gills fans will be aware of him for his time with the club and his playing career.

“Simon had an excellent spell working under Dean Smith at Brentford and following my conversations with Dean it became clear in my mind that this was the ideal man to become part of the background team as we lead the Gills into the new season.”

Royce also played for Gillingham during his career, making 109 appearances for the club.

The former shot-stopper will soon be facing the Shrimpers, who visit the Priestfield Stadium for a pre-season friendly towards the end of July.