NATHAN Ralph feels he has a point to prove after committing his future to Southend United.

The left-back has signed a new one year deal with the Shrimpers.

And, after enduring an injury hit first two seasons at Roots Hall, Ralph remains eager to prove his worth.

"I’m pleased to have signed for Southend again and I feel after being out for so long I’ve got a bit of a point to prove so I want to show that,” said the 28-year-old.

"I’ve had an unfortunate couple of years with two long-term injuries so I’m happy to sign and be able to focus on my football.”

Ralph has made just 28 appearances for Blues since signing in 2019.

But the defender, whose deal includes the option of another 12 months, has been working hard throughout the summer in a bid to get himself back on track.

"It’s been nice to get back out there with the players, starting pre-season with them, after so many months in the gym and working alone,” said Ralph.

"I was in over the summer five days a week with the strength and conditioning coaches. The stuff I’ve done has really helped me.

"I feel fit and strong but it will be a phased return for me over the course of next week with the aim of being fit for the start of the season."

Ralph suffered a dislocated shoulder during his first season with the Shrimpers before he was sidelined by a cruciate ligament injury last term.

But Blues boss Phil Brown is delighted to have the defender back in action.

"Where Nathan’s concerned he’s been working tirelessly, and I mean tirelessly,” said Brown.

“I’ve never seen a guy so devoted to his work than what Nathan Ralph has been.

"His attitude and mentality is something that caught my attention as soon as I came through the door, albeit that I had not seen him as a footballer.

"He’s on the training ground now each day with the rest of the squad and his technique is way above the National League so I’m delighted to get the quality of that player into the camp.”

And Brown feels Ralph has shown good loyalty to the Shrimpers.

"I’m sure loyalty will be questioned in the world of football from now until doomsday but where loyalty is concerned, we’ve looked after Nathan for a couple of years while he’s not been able to play and he’s repaid us with signing a new deal,” said Brown.

"I’m hoping that he has an injury-free period now through pre-season and he’s got a direct battle, like Jason Demetriou has at right back, with a young lad behind him.

“We have Rob Howard down the right-hand side and Tom Clifford down the left, so the full-back berths are an area I’m looking forward to working with.”