SOUTHEND United head coach Kevin Maher cannot wait to finally focus on football

After another turbulent summer for the Shrimpers, the squad will begin pre-season training on Friday.

And Maher is pleased to be getting his group of players back together.

“Obviously it’s been a disrupted off-season with a lot going on outside and around the club, but we’re looking forward to getting all the players back in for the start of pre-season and getting started," said Maher.

“The pre-season has all been planned out to a tee and it’s going to be a lot of hard work.

"There will be testing on Friday and Saturday to see how everyone is when they come back, because it’s been quite a long off-season this time, and then we’ll be straight on the footballs on Monday.”

Blues are still planning to move to their training ground situated not too far from their current Boots & Laces base.

But the Shrimpers will not be switching just yet.

“There’s been a slight delay in getting it ready but hopefully we’ll be on the pitches at the new training ground soon," said Maher.

"Chris (Ball) and his ground staff have been working around the clock to get it ready and hopefully we’ll be able to get over there in the near future.”

Blues have been unable to add to their squad so far this summer due to a transfer embargo which still remains in place.

And Maher admitted to it being another tough period for everyone connected with the club.

“There’s no point ignoring it completely because it is what it is, it’s out there what’s been going on," said the Blues boss.

"The work that the consortium and everyone is doing to get the club up and running fully again is brilliant and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready as a team.

“We want a smooth pre-season and hope everyone comes through it so we’re in a good place come the first game.”

Blues begin their pre-season schedule with a trip to Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday July 13 before also facing Canvey Island, Gillingham and Chelmsford City.

Further matches are still being planned but it remains unclear if Maher's side will head to Scotland for a friendly with Rangers.

The two teams had been in talks about a warm up fixture but the uncertainty surrounding the Shrimpers' future has now put the game in doubt.

The new National League season starts on Saturday August 10.