SOUTHEND United Jack Bridge is keen to crack on with the Shrimpers after the most unusual summer of his footballing career.

The Blues wing-back has started the opening three matches of the National League season.

But for much of the off-season Bridge did not know if he would be able to stay with his hometown club.

A transfer embargo meant the 27-year-old could not be offered a new deal by Shrimpers boss Kevin Maher.

However, Blues are allowed to register 16 players in their squad – meaning Bridge was able to stay.

And he was always keen to remain at Roots Hall if possible.

“This is the place I love playing football, it’s my home,” said Bridge.

“It’s been a bit of a headache and I haven’t had a summer like it before if I’m honest.

“It was strange and I wanted to crack on with football but I couldn’t even do that at times.

“With everything going on it wasn’t always straightforward to sort but we found a way and the season has been brilliant so far to be fair.”

Bridge already has two assists in the Shrimpers’ first three games of the season.

But the former Eastwood School pupil believes he is still far from his best.

“There’s a lot more to come from me,” said Bridge.

“The off season and pre-season wasn’t quite ideal and I’m still getting fit.

“I’m getting that touch and sharpness back but it’s nice to have got some assists and hopefully I’ll get a goal soon too.”

Blues kicked off the National League campaign with back to back victories before suffering a frustrating 2-1 defeat at Dorking Wanderers on Tuesday night.

And Bridge insisted the Shrimpers have again been determined to show they had not been affected by the club’s off-field issues which at one point threatened their participation in the league.

“We wanted to show we’re not going to be what everyone was expecting us to be,” said Bridge.

“We wanted to make sure we’re no pushovers this year and we’re here to crack on with football because we know what we can do. “ Blues have done just that by collecting six points from a possible nine.

And Bridge also took positives from the defeat to Dorking.

“It’s was frustrating and we’re still frustrated we let that happen,” said Bridge.

“We take the positives and if you’re going to lose I’d rather do it by playing well and making loads of chances than playing badly and not creating anything. It was frustrating but we want to put it right this weekend.”

And Bridge is eager to get three points against Hartlepool at Roots Hall.

“We want to bounce back after a loss and that’s the massive thing we need to do this weekend,” he added.