NATIONAL League expert Adam Virgo feels Southend United will be seen as a big scalp for several sides this season.

The Shrimpers kick off their campaign at King’s Lynn tomorrow.

And Virgo, who covers non-league for BT Sport, believes Blues will find life outside of the Football League tough going.

“Southend will be everyone’s cup final and so will Grimsby who came down with them,” said Virgo.

“Southend fans and the players are going to have to get used to that very quickly.

“They’re coming down as a big scalp and I think they are going to find it really hard to find their feet and go again.

“People automatically think the relegated sides will be challenging for promotion but I think it’s happened twice in 12 years.

“It’s certainly not an easy thing to do and it feels like a really competitive league this year.”

The Shrimpers will be lining up in the National League after suffering back to back relegations.

But Virgo insists there will not be much of a drop in standard.

“I don’t see there being a massive difference between the National League and League Two,” said the 38-year-old.

“When I looked at the National League last year from the champions down to seventh place and then did the same in League Two it was probably only Bolton and Tranmere that were bigger clubs.

“In the National League you had Notts County, Torquay, Stockport, Hartlepool, big big sides.

“I honestly think you will be surprised by the level of football and the level of quality. “People will look it at like the Conference with part time sides but it’s not like that now.”

And the Shrimpers will also be facing a variety of challenges.

“You have teams like Altrincham who play on the front foot without fear who are really hard to play,” said Virgo.

“The games against your Notts County’s and teams like that look after themselves really but it’s the so called smaller sides that are even tougher.

“Last season Southend were used to losing week in week out and having bad news week in week out and all of a sudden they’ve got to turn that full circle.

“It’s a big ask and I think that’s why Phil (Brown) has signed experienced players in key areas because you need that at this level.”

One of the new faces at Roots Hall is Rhys Murphy.

And Virgo is confident the striker will be a success with the Shrimpers.

“He’s a fantastic finisher and he’s very good at this level,” said Virgo.

“When I saw he’d gone to Southend I thought it was an excellent signing.

“Goals have been hard to come by for Southend but you’ll have them with Rhys if the opportunities come his way.

“In terms of 18 yard finishers I would say he’s in the top two or three in the league.”

However, Virgo feels it is tough to pick what else might happen.

“I’ve been doing this eight years and only once have I correctly predicted the winner of the league and that was Leyton Orient,” said Virgo.

“I’ve predicted teams that almost got relegated but as of today I would say Chesterfield have the best squad.

“They’ve got really good options in the final third but you obviously can’t write off Wrexham because they’ve got the backing there.

“But good luck trying to predict anything in this league!”