SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown has been boosted by the younger members of the Shrimpers’ squad.

The Blues boss watched the club’s under 23 side beat Maidstone United 5-2 in a friendly clash this afternoon. 

And Brown was again impressed by what he saw.

“I have to say I’ve been really pleased with the way the younger players have performed both in pre-season and against Maidstone as well,” said Brown.

“I went over to watch the game and there really were some great performances from the kids.

“I’ve kept tabs on the sides we played in pre-season too.

“Ebbsfleet won their first game 5-1 and Dartford have won their first two matches and are top of the table.

“Our kids drew with both of them and that’s another encouraging sign for us.”

Blues went in front early on with on loan Norwich City youngster Matt Dennis firing them in front before striker Matt Rush made it 2-0 in the 10th minute.

Maidstone soon hit back with a goal of their own before out of favour Shrimpers striker Simeon Akinola worked his way onto the score-sheet. The hosts replied with another effort but Blues soon hit back with Akinola on target on the hour mark.

And the Shrimpers completed the scoring in the 87th minute with Dennis scoring his second of the game, much to the delight of Brown.

“Matty did well but I was pleased with a lot of the performances,” said Brown.

“Terrell Egbri did well and so did Rob Howard again so they’re really pushing for places which is what we want and need.”

However, Akinola is still unlikely to feature in the first team despite his double strike.

“Sim was involved to give himself a chance to get fit and to get himself a move,” said Brown.

“The situation hasn’t changed.”

Akinola scored twice in 24 games for the Shrimpers last term but did not feature in the first team during pre-season.

The 29-year-old has also not been allocated a squad number.

Southend United: Seaden, Howard, Davis, Sayers, Egbri, Stewart (Benton), Gard, Rush, Dennis, Kargbo, Akinola