SOUTHEND United manager Mark Molesley is pleased the club are standing by injured duo Lewis Gard and Nathan Ralph.

The duo have both been ruled out for the rest of the season with cruciate ligament injuries.

And Molesley is happy the Shrimpers have opened contract talks with both players.

“It’s a great sign from the football club that they’re looking after players,” said Molesley.

“Basically they had this season taken away from them through no fault of their own.

“It’s tough times out there at the moment and hopefully this gives them some security and peace of mind in their own head.

“They’ve got something to fight and recover for and the club has been very kind and fair in looking after them.

“They’ve got great potential for the football club and they’ve definitely got a future here when they’re back healthy.”