SOUTHEND United have opened contract talks with injured duo Lewis Gard and Nathan Ralph.

Midfielder Gard and left-back Ralph have both been ruled out for the rest of the season with cruciate ligament injuries.

But Blues are still keen to keep them at Roots Hall.

And the minutes from chairman Ron Martin’s meeting with the club’s supporters have now confirmed that discussions have opened on new deals.

The minutes read: “Ron confirmed that he has started talks with Lewis Gard and Nathan Ralphs agents about new deals as both him and Mark Molesley see them in their long term plans.”

Ralph has made 28 appearances since joining Blues in 2019 while Gard has played 12 times since coming through the ranks.