Chris Barker delights in Southend United progress

Chris Barker
Barker was named Southend's player of the season on Saturday

Southend United defender Chris Barker has hailed the club's progress this season after a summer of uncertainty.

The Shrimpers are set for a mid-table finish in League Two despite a shoestring playing budget and surviving two winding-up orders last August.

"You have to remember where the club was eight months ago," 31-year-old Barker told BBC Essex.

"We had some highs when we were a point off the play-offs but we were fourth or fifth from bottom at one point too."

Because of a transfer embargo on the club boss Paul Sturrock was not able to register the majority of his squad until two days before the start of the campaign.

After only picking up one point in their first three games the Shrimpers recovered to climb the table and even mounted a play-off charge which was halted by a loss to Stockport in late March.

"We're obviously going forward, hopefully we can push on next season," added Barker, who arrived at Roots Hall from Plymouth in August after an initial loan deal.

"We've organised the club a bit this year, we've battled and got through it and had a fantastic run over Christmas.

"The club can be proud, hopefully we can push on next season."

Barker has featured 46 times in all competitions this season and was named Southend's player of the season.