Southend United manager Phil Brown wants their pre-season to mirror the gruelling schedule they will face in the National League.

The Blues announced last night that they will take on two newly-promoted Premier League sides at Roots Hall in August.

A Brentford XI will face Southend on Wednesday August 4, while Norwich City U23s will be the visitors on Tuesday August 10 as Southend prepare for their first season outside of the football league in 101 years.

But Brown is hoping to add more friendlies so they will be playing twice a week, in order to mirror the hectic schedule they will face in the National League.

He said: “We’ve still got one or two fixtures that we want to fill in.

“I want to go Saturday, Tuesday to emulate what we’re going to be doing next season.

“We’ve got one or two that are hovering in the background, and a lot of times when you put a pre-season together something of the unknown comes out the woodwork.

“As far as we’re concerned the pre-season we’ve prepared so far is one that I’m pleased with.

“To get the standard of Norwich and Brentford, one it emphasises the relationship with the Premier League clubs around us is positive and it gives us something we might be able to utilise during the season in terms of loans.

“More importantly, the preparation for the campaign next year has to be as difficult as we can possibly make it.

“It certainly will be physically, it will be a challenge on the fitness front.

“Now we have to make it a challenge on the football front and that is what we have done with regards to West Ham, Brentford and Norwich.

“The U23’s of these teams have showed in the England team at the moment the quality that they have, because a lot of them [in the England team] have come through U23s teams and the technical side is at the forefront of their game.

“Watching their first teams last season, you have to be technically capable to get into them so you’ve got to play a certain way, which is what we’re expecting.”

With pre-season just a couple of weeks away, Brown admits the players are looking forward to a gruelling pre-season.

He said: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the players will find pre-season difficult.

“The weather conditions that are coming, presuming that it’s going to be very warm.

“The training ground is coming along nicely with the work that we’ve done to it.

“The players will look forward to the type of pre-season that I’m going to put out for them, but it will be difficult there’s no doubt about it.”