SOUTHEND United midfielder Lewis Gard has signed a new one year deal with the Shrimpers.

The promising 20-year-old impressed in the final two games of last season after recovering from a serious cruciate ligament injury.

And Gard, who has been with Blues since the age of eight, is thrilled to be remaining at Roots Hall.

“I’m really happy to have got the deal done,” said Gard.

“It’s been going on for a couple of weeks now and I’m really happy it’s all been sorted so I can play for another year.

“I can’t wait to get going again.”

Gard’s contract includes the option of an additional year.

And the youngster is keen to carry on from where he left off.

“We got the win against Bristol Rovers in what turned out to be the last game and I was happy to get a goal against Oxford the week before too,” said the Basildon based Gard.

“That gave me a lot of confidence and hopefully I’ll still be confident when we get back to it.”

Prior to lining up against Oxford United, Gard had been out of action for 16 months with the injury he suffered at Colchester back in October 2018.

And the midfielder was frustrated he could not build on his comeback.

“It was really annoying everything had to stop after I’d had those two games,” said Gard.

“I felt like I was playing well when it got cut short but I’m happy I at least got those games because without them it could’ve been a completely different story for me now.”

The season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic which could well leave clubs in financial crisis this summer.

That could also lead to uncertain futures for many footballers and Gard is grateful to be staying in the game. “All of that had definitely been playing on my mind,” said Gard.

“I wanted to get it sorted as soon as we could so I could just think about next season and getting going again.

“We had to wait and see how the season was going to be decided but once that was announced we got it done quite quickly and I’m really happy.”

The Shrimpers will be back in League Two next term after enduring a season of struggle.

But Gard is keen to make the next campaign far more memorable.

“As a team we want to do better and try our best to do whatever we can in the League,” said the former St Thomas More High School pupil.

“For me personally it’s about getting as much game time as possible. “I was out a long time with my injury so I want to play as much as I can.”

And Gard has been training hard in a bid to make sure that can happen.

“I’ve been doing everything I can,” said Gard.

“At first we didn’t know when we were going to be back in so we were given a programme to keep us fit.

“That was tough because you were doing it on your own and you get a bit bored sometimes.

“Then you were allowed to meet in pairs so I started to do more footballing sessions with someone but it’s not the same as training.

“It’s been hard and certainly a bit different but hopefully we can come back in the next two or three months.”

Gard has made six first team appearances for the Shrimpers.