DANNY Cowley says the signing of former Southend United youngster Alex Woodyard will have a “huge impact” on his squad.

The 21-year-old midfielder featured 15 times for the Blues in league and cup between 2010 and 2013, before being released by Phil Brown last summer. He then joined Conference Premier side Dartford, making 43 appearances for them last season. However, he has now decided to swap Kent for Essex and will be playing his football for Concord Rangers next campaign.

Cowley says signing Woodyard is a significant coup for the club, as the player had the chance to stay at Dartford.

“We have been working really hard to make this deal happen so it makes me very happy to welcome Alex to Concord,” said Cowley.

“He will have a huge impact on our team. We know all about the qualities he will bring and he is looking forward to linking up with the rest of the boys for pre-season.”

Dartford offered Woodyard a new deal after impressing for the Kent club last year but he turned down the contract, opting to drop down a league after speaking with Cowley.

Woodyard has also had loan spells at Farnborough and Braintree Town before moving to Dartford at the start of last season.

“I had a very honest chat with Alex and he was impressed at the vision of the club and wanted to be a part of it.

“It has been a really difficult few months trying to bring players in and we simply can’t compete with so many of our opponents. It is like we are heading into battle with a water pistol but we are making progress and this deal proves it.

“We have had to be resilient but that is a quality I like all my players and backroom staff to have, so we move forward.”