SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is keen to bring Rob Kiernan back to Roots Hall but fears it is unlikely to happen.

The Wigan Athletic centre-back made 15 appearances during an impressive three month loan stint with the Shrimpers which ended in late December.

But League One leaders Brentford are now also believed to be tracking his availability and Brown fears the 23-year-old may not return to Blues.

“I would love to bring Rob back in and I’ve lodged that interest with their manager Uwe Rosler but I think it’s going to be difficult for us to make it happen,” said Brown.

“I get on well with Uwe, he’s a good friend of mine and he’s said Rob won’t be going anywhere for at least a couple of weeks because he has another couple of defenders out injured there at the moment.

“I’ve also heard about Brentford’s interest and if a team top of League One are after him as well then I think that rules us out the equation if we’re being honest about it.

“The fact they’re interested shows how well Rob did while he was with us and we certainly can’t do anymore than we’ve done already to try and get him back at the club for the remainder of the season.”

Brown has already made defender Adam Thompson’s loan spell from Watford permanent during the January transfer window.

And, despite his interest in bringing back Kiernan, Brown’s main target remains a right-back to replace the injured John White.

“The priority is still a right-back and we’re waiting on a phone call about one of our main targets at the moment,” said Brown.

“Hopefully that will bring good news but we have a list of alternative targets drawn up just in case it doesn’t and we’ll be doing all we can to bring someone in before the game against Chesterfield this weekend.”