FORMER Southend United right-back Mark Beard is interested in becoming the Shrimpers next boss, Echosport understands.

Beard, who made 151 appearances for the Shrimpers, is currently in charge of Brighton & Hove Albion's under 18 team.

But the 45-year-old is keen to make the step up into the senior game and replace Sol Campbell at Roots Hall.

Beard has been with Brighton since 2015 and led the Seagulls to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup last season during a run which also saw them win away at Manchester United.

Beard's side also went seven months without defeat while nine of his players have now signed professional contracts.

Beard was previously under 18 manager at Crawley Town and has built a good reputation in the game.