LEWIS Gard is determined to force his way back into first team contention at Southend United.

The 22-year-old midfielder has now completed a two month loan spell with Heybridge Swifts.

And Gard is now keen to kick on with the Shrimpers.

“I want to come back, get into the team and play for Southend again,” said Gard.

“I’ve played two months of games now, playing every week, so I feel as fresh as I can be.

“I feel like the loan went very well and I feel back to my normal self again both fitness wise and confidence wise.

“I’m match sharp again now too.”

Gard, who came through the youth ranks at Roots Hall, has made 12 appearances for the Shrimpers first team but has not featured since October 2020 after suffering the second serious knee injury of his career.

The midfielder completed his loan spell at Heybridge, who are managed by former Blues boss Steve Tilson, with a 7-1 win against Hullbridge Sports on Saturday.