LEWIS Gard is eager to stay with Southend United.

The 22-year-old midfielder started Monday's 1-1 draw with Weymouth.

And Gard is keen to be given another opportunity against Torquay United on the final day of the season as he strives to secure a new deal.

"There's only one game left and what happens next year I'm not sure," said Gard.

"Maybe next Sunday might be another start, I don't know right now and we'll have to see.

"But I've been here since I was eight or nine so I want to stay here and that's my priority.

"Whatever happens, happens and if I have to go and play somewhere else, then that's what will happen.

"But ideally I want to stay here and play."

Gard's start against Weymouth was just his second in the league this season.

And he was pleased to be given a rare opportunity to impress.

"I was very happy and it's been a long time coming," said Gard.

"I thought I did alright as well, it was just annoying we couldn't get the win.

"The performance was actually really good and I thought we deserved to win.

"We missed the penalty and missed chances throughout the game but I thought we had them on the back foot throughout the game.

"As the manager said after the game it could've been 7-1, but it was just one of those days for us unfortunately and it felt like we had them camped in their box from minute one."

The draw kept Blues 12th in the National League standings.

And Gard is pleased with the progress which has been made since Kevin Maher was appointed head coach in October.

"It's been a massive change and it was from the very first week the manager and the coaches came in," said Gard.

"It took a while for results to come but we've done well and can only get better from having a full pre-season behind us next year."

However, Blues do still have one game left to play - against Torquay a week on Sunday and Gard admitted it would be strange waiting so long.

"It's weird," said Gard.

"We will have a few days off and then get back in to training."