FIVE first team squad members will be in action for Southend United’s under-23s against Forest Green Rovers this afternoon.

Timothee Dieng, Jason Demetriou, Luke Hyam, Isaac Hutchinson and Andre Blackman are all expected to line-up at Boots & Laces.

And Blues’ under-23 coach Craig Fagan is looking forward to his first league match in charge.

“It seems a long time ago that we played now so it will be good to get out there again,” said Fagan.

“We have a strong side with five first team players playing and that will make it a different kind of game.

“They will be professional in their approach because they want to get minutes under their belts and it’s a chance for our younger players to learn from them too.

“They can see up close what it takes to make the step up and it will be good for them.

“Obviously, the ones we aren’t playing are disappointing but I’ve told them those who play well will keep their shirt so that’s a good lesson to learn.”

Fagan’s first game in charge saw the Shrimpers lose 3-1 to Scunthorpe United in the Premier League Cup at Roots Hall.

And the former Hull City forward is keen to build on what was an encouraging second half display against the Iron.

“We want to take that second half performance and play like that for 90 minutes now,” said Fagan.

“We can’t afford to start slowly and that’s a message I’ve been getting across to the players.

“We’ve had time on the training field together so I understand them and they understand the way I want us to play as well so it will be good to have another game tomorrow.”

Dieng’s involvement will be his first with the Shrimpers this season after the midfielder suffered two calf injuries during pre-season.

The Frenchman made 50 appearances for Blues last term and will be hoping to use this afternoon’s game as a springboard for a first team return.

Hyam and Hutchinson both featured for the Shrimpers off the bench in Saturday’s 1-0 win at MK Dons while Andre Blackman was an unused substitute.

Demetriou missed the game due to the ongoing management of his knee which required two operations last season.

However, the right-back, who has made four first team appearances this term, will be back in action today as he bids to regain full fitness.

The match kicks off at 2pm.