Date: 30th June 2014 at 5:22pm
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We’ve boosted our numbers by three today without having to go out and sign anyone as three of our academy graduates have signed their first professional contracts with Southend to become part of our first team squad next season.

Having been significantly impressed with Josh Banton, Jack Bridge and Jason Williams we’ve decided that all three are worthy of their first professional contracts with all three signing one years deals that also have the option of a second.

We’d already tied down Ted Smith and Ellis Brown to their first contracts with Phil Brown saying in an interview with the official website that he now wants them, having earned their chance, to work hard in pre season to and follow the example of Jack Payne from last year.

‘It’s great news that Josh, Jack and Jason have signed their deals and will have the opportunity to impress us this season.

‘I was pleased with their progression under Ricky for the youth team last season, and they all thoroughly deserved their first professional deals.

‘They’ve worked hard to get to this position, but now it’s very important they kick on and work hard throughout pre-season.

‘Jack Payne, this time last year, was in their position and he made a big impression. All three of them can look at that and target the same for themselves this time around.’

They’ll offer us another option running through the side as Banton is a central defender, Bridge a midfielder and Williams a striker, which is definitely an area that we’re very light in so he had a real opportunity.

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