SOUTHEND United have a fight on their hands to secure the services of defender Adam Thompson on a permanent basis.
The Northern Ireland under-21 captain has completed his initial six-month long loan spell with the Shrimpers from Watford.
Blues are keen to keep him at Roots Hall but manager Phil Brown knows two other clubs are also keen on snapping up Thompson.
And the Southend boss is now not sure where Thompson will end up, although the defender still favours a switch to the League Two club.
“Things are still very much in the melting pot where Adam is concerned and it’s out of our hands now really as two other clubs are also trying to sign him,” confirmed Brown.
“We had hoped to have been able to announce something today but you can’t take anything for granted in football and the fact other clubs now want to sign him has made it less certain what will happen.”
But Blues may have a headstart on their un-named rivals after Thompson revealed: “I hope to sign for Southend permanently.
“Hopefully something can be sorted out that’s right for me and the club because I’ve loved it there and want to stay.”
Thompson returned to the Shrimpers’ starting line-up for Saturday’s shock 4-1 win over Millwall in the third round of the FA Cup at Roots Hall.
That was the 21-year-old’s 11th appearance for the club and Brown is still hoping it will not be the defender’s last.
“He’s in a dressing room he knows well with us and it’s not far from where he lives either, so hopefully that will work in our favour,” said Brown.
“He also played well in a very good team performance against Millwall at the weekend so he would certainly be involved if he came back to us, as well.”
Blues are currently short of centre-backs after Rob Kiernan returned to Wigan Athletic after completing his own loan spell at Roots Hall.
They are also currently sweating on the fitness of captain John White following his shoulder injury against Millwall on Saturday.
The right-back was forced to come off towards the end of the 4-1 win and will have his injury scanned tomorrow.
“It’s still too early to tell how bad John’s shoulder injury is but the scan tomorrow will tell us more,” said Brown.
“His shoulder popped out and back in again so I’m sure it’s still stinging but we will just have to wait and see how it settles down."