SOUTHEND United boss Kevin Bond is pleased to be giving the club’s young guns a chance to shine.

Centre-back Richard Taylor was the latest teenager to be called into the Shrimpers squad for Saturday’s trip to Lincoln City.

And Bond has already been impressed by the teenage centre-back who joined Blues in the summer after leaving Burnley.

“Richard’s very competitive and very athletic but, most of all, he stays behind every day to do extra work,” said Bond.

“He really wants to improve and be as good as he can be.

“I love that attitude so we’ve had him around us as much as we can because he deserves it.”

But Taylor is not the only youngster being chosen by Bond.

“You look at Nathan Bishop in the side, Elvis Bwomono, Charlie Kelman and Isaac Hutchinson – who I know hasn’t been right the way through the system – but it must give lads like Richard and the younger lads heart,” said Bond.

“It’s important that pathway is there.”

Bond is expected to name the youngsters in the squad for this evening’s game with Peterborough.

And he is keen to see the Shrimpers pick up more points at Roots Hall after 13 home defeats last term.

“Our home form was absolutely shocking last year,” said Bond.

“We need to make Roots Hall a fortress if we can. “