SOUTHEND United manager Kevin Maher will look to ensure the club’s young players are not short of action this season.

The Shrimpers will not have an under 23 side during the forthcoming campaign.

But Maher will be doing all he can to make sure Blues’ up and coming players are still playing regularly.

“We’ll assess them but I’m keen for players to play games and to play men’s football,” said Maher.

“When I grew up there were reserve teams and I want our youngsters to be playing with senior players as much as possible.

“Once or twice a month we’ll go and play games against different opposition, we’ll look to play non-league teams and Premier League under 23 sides so it’s varied.

“Those who aren’t playing regular first team football will be involved and so will the young lads.”

Echo: Doing well - Jaden Crowhurst impressed in pre-seasonDoing well - Jaden Crowhurst impressed in pre-season

And that could also see members of the youth team involved.

“The best 16 will come and play with us and we’ll work closely with the academy,” said Maher.

“We’ll work with Heathy (Danny Heath) and Patto (Mark Patterson) because I want that link to the academy and think it’s important.

“I don’t want there to be a gap between the academy and the first team which I felt was growing.

“But we’ll work closely and I want them to play as much as possible with senior first team players so we get to know them and they get to know us.”


>Blues confirm squad numbers for season ahead