Southend United have confirmed they will tackle Premiership neighbours West Ham at Roots Hall in a glamour pre-season friendly.

The Hammers are set to visit the Essex coast on Tuesday, July 23, and Blues will face another top-flight club on home soil -- Charlton Athletic -- four days later on Saturday, July 27.

And the Third Division club's co-owner Ron Martin admitted he was already excited about the prospect of seeing a host of international stars parading their talents at Roots Hall during the summer.

"Both West Ham and Charlton's teams are packed full of quality players and I know Southend's fans will enjoy watching our own stars take them on," he said.

"It is great to be able to attract such strong opposition to Roots Hall over the pre-season period and even better to have the games confirmed a long way in advance.

"And I think everybody around the town will be looking forward to the West Ham game in particular.

"The last time we played them here five years ago we had a full house at Roots Hall and a great atmosphere.

"There are a lot of people living in this area who support West Ham and I'm sure it will be a busy night again.

"And ideally it would be nice to turn this fixture against our east London neighbours into an annual event."

Martin also confirmed Blues were trying to set up another Roots Hall warm-up match against Premiership opposition, with Tottenham Hotspur their next target, as well as First Division Wimbledon.

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Published Thursday, March 21, 2002