Southend end positive day with a double signing

1 Aug

JULIAN Bennett and Conor Clifford have joined up with Southend United two days ahead of the curtain raiser against Plymouth Argyle.
Fears about the depth of the Shrimpers squad have cast a cloud over the summer, but today’s transfer business will lift the mood at Roots Hall in the nick of time.
Former Nottingham Forest, Walsall and Sheffield Wednesday defender Julian Bennett has signed a one-year deal and will shore up the defence. A tough-tackling left back, he was Forest’s player of the year in 2008 but a serious injury kept him out of the game for nearly two years. He won promotion with Sheffield Wednesday from League One in 2012, but was released at the end of his contract with the Owls. Bennett began his career at centre half with Walsall, and it is believed Phil Brown may look to the 28-year-old to slot into that position once again.
Clifford is a product of Chelsea’s youth academy who spend a few months with Leicester at the tail end of last season without playing a first team game. What action the 21-year-old Irishman has had on the pitch has been during loan spells at Notts County, Portsmouth, Yeovil and Plymouth. After a few years of temporary matches, he will be hoping his two-year deal will enable him to settle down and enjoy his football. A tough-tackling midfielder in the Alan McCormack mould, he is also said to have an eye for goal.
The two signings follow the capture of Craig Reid this morning, and sandwiched inbetween was the news that promising goalkeeper Daniel Bentley has signed a new contract, keeping him at the club until 2016.
Southend’s squad now looks considerably healthier than it did yesterday, but the problem of a lack of pace in attack has yet to be addressed. However, Phil Brown is believed to still be pursuing a deal for Southampton striker Jonathan Forte, which would certainly be the club’s “marquee signing” of the summer, were it to come off.


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