SOUTHEND have made it a hattrick after announcing the arrival of Louis Lomas.

Lomas is the third signing of the day and he has put pen to paper on a two-year deal at Roots Hall ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The 21-year-old centre-half was a key target for Southend after being identified by head coach Kevin Maher and the rest of the recruitment department after an impressive season for Brackley Town.

Making the step up to the National League and back into full-time football, Lomas told Blues TV: "Last season was great for me personally, it was the season that I really kicked on [in my career].

"I felt I was very consistent, and we were unfortunate not to be promoted in the end, falling just short. Overall, I was really pleased and now coming here it’s a chance to kick on.

"I always back myself [to make the step up] but I’m still young and still learning so there’s lots of development for me to make.

"I feel like I’m ready. When I spoke to the gaffer he said he’s getting a team of hungry young players and he thinks I’m one of them. I believe I am too.”

Lomas was in the Norwich ranks since the age of 14 before leaving for first-team opportunities, and he said his upbringing at the Canaries has given him a good grounding.

"I learnt a hell of a lot at Norwich since being there at U14s. Having to take a step back to then take a step forward is what you’ve got to do sometimes.

"I’m always determined to get better and as long as I’m playing, that was always the main thing for me. It’s worked well and I hope to go again."

Head coach Kevin Maher said: "I think it’s a good one. For a centre half he’s a good size, he has bags of potential and he adds competition to that area of the pitch.

"For his age, all the reports we’ve had, and when we’ve watched him, he does everything right. Trains properly, works his socks off and I think coming back into full time football, having stepped away after leaving Norwich City, to get another bite at the cherry will give him all the motivation he needs.

"He’s had a good year playing men’s football for Brackley which will stand him in good stead and there’s a great opportunity for him here.

"We’ve got him in before the start of pre-season which is important and he’s another very good addition to the squad we’re looking to build.”

Louis will wear the number four shirt next season.