Date:Tuesday June 24 2014
Manager Phil Brown has said that he believes Lee Barnard, Paul Smith and Jack Payne will all have big roles to play for Southend next season.
With the club confirming earlier in the day that all three had committed to the club for the 2014-15 season, the gaffer told the Official Site that he was delighted to see the deals all done and dusted and talked individually about what he expects from each of them moving forward.
'I am very pleased to have secured their services for next season because they will all have an important role to play for different reasons. Paul Smith is a very experienced goalkeeper, and having spoken to him, he is ready to push Daniel Bentley all the way for that number one shirt next season. Bentley had a terrific season, but Paul will come back in pre season and be ready to push hard to be in goal for the first game on August 9th. In my opinion he is the best number two in the division, but he doesn't have that number two mentality which is very important.£
Finishing on Smith by saying he's very pleased to see him sign on for the new campaign, he said he also knows that his experience is vital in the dressing room and of course he has a big part to play in helping the development of Dan and Ted Smith, so he feels we have a very close knit and talented goalkeeping group now.
As for Barnard who didn't really show his best during his loan spell from Southampton with us next season, Brown is confident that with a good pre season under his belt, fans will definitely see him return back to his goalscoring and threatening best.
'Lee hadn't played much before he joined so we knew it'd be tough. He'll be able to get a full pre season under his belt and be ready for the campaign. Hopefully we can get him back playing how he was during his first spell with the club, he's an out and out striker who knows where the goal is, so I'm sure he can rediscover that sort of form.'
Brown goes on to say that the coaching staff will work closely with him in pre season, not just to ensure that he's at his physical best, but to make sure he's high in confidence as well ahead of the campaign kick off.
As for the talent that is Jack Payne, Brown has challenged him to step up another level and really prove his worth, as apparently every target he was set in 2013-14 he more than met.
'In pre season we set Jack some targets and after three months of the campaign, he'd reached them. So we'll have to make the targets tougher this time around. But he's got a fabulous determination and a real passion to succeed, so I'm sure he will be able to achieve once again. We're pleased with how he is developing.'
Brown goes on to say that he more than made his mark when coming off the bench last year, so the biggest challenge for him this season is to step up and earn more starting matches under his belt, and he's sure he relishes that challenge for the coming year.
Date:Tuesday June 24 2014
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Atkinson Pens Two Year Extension (Friday June 19 2015)
Brown Signs Three Year Deal (Friday June 19 2015)
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Southend's Fixtures For 2015-16 Released Tomorrow (Tuesday June 16 2015)
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