SOUTHEND United youngster Oli Coker will kick off the new youth team campaign buoyed by his first ever involvement with the Shrimpers senior side.

The 17-year-old midfielder was on the bench for Blues’ EFL Trophy clash against West Ham United’s under 21 team on Tuesday night.

And Coker – who grew up supporting the Shrimpers - is now keen to do all he can to earn himself another opportunity with Mark Molesley’s side.

“It was brilliant and it’s something I’ve been dreaming about doing for quite some time,” said Coker.

“It was a dream come true to be involved and it was a really good experience to be in and around the first team.

“But I’ll be trying to push for more starts for the 23s and being as consistent as I can.

“It would be great to be involved with the first team again but being consistent and playing well is what would get me there.”

Blues’ youngsters kick off their season with a short trip to Leyton Orient this morning.

And Coker cannot wait to get going.

“It’s going to be a good season and we have a good team this year,” said Coker.

“Hopefully we can get off to a good start and we already know all about each other.

“Last year a few of the first years started to play up an age group so we got to know them quite quickly and that’s good.”