KEVIN Maher has revealed it was a wrench for him to leave Southend United.

Maher, who played 455 times for the Shrimpers, has left his role in charge of the club’s under-23 team to become first team coach at Bristol Rovers.

But, despite being excited by the move, Maher also admitted it was tough to leave Roots Hall.

“Of course it was a wrench to leave because Southend’s my club but for my development as a coach I wanted the chance to work in first team football and I’m excited to be getting that at Bristol Rovers now,” said Maher.

“It’s a big club and a big city and I’m happy to be here.

“Pre-season is going well and I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”

Maher has made the move to the Pirates to team up with manager Graham Coughlan, who Maher worked closely alongside during their time together with the Shrimpers.

And Maher is pleased to have been reunited with the Irishman.

“I got on really well with Cocko and Phil Brown when we were all at Southend and it’s good to be working with Cocko again,” said Maher.

“He made a big impact at Bristol Rovers when he came in last season and took them away from the relegation zone.

“I think the team was second from bottom in the table when he first came in so he did a good job and we want to keep that going now.

“We want to keep on winning games but we know just how tough it’s going to be in League One because there are a lot of good teams.”