SOUTHEND United are suffering another defensive crisis ahead of tonight’s trip to high-flying Scunthorpe.

John White, John Egan and Ben Coker are all doubtful for the trip to Glanford Park while Luke Prosser, Adam Thompson and Julian Bennett are definitely out.

And Blues boss Phil Brown admits the situation is far from ideal.

“We have seven or eight injuries and they’re all to defenders so it’s certainly a problem but we will have to battle on,” said Brown.

“John Egan has a calf problem and I would say he’s 50/50 for the game while John White is probably the same after he picked up a few knocks from a certain Morecambe player on Saturday.

“Ben has an illness and we’re fairly hopeful he can play but we will be taking a very young squad for a game we really need men in.”

Young defenders Ryan Auger and Josh Banton have both been added to the squad along with midfielder Jack Bridge and striker Jason Williams.

But Brown is still working on bringing in defensive reinforcements and is keen to bring trialist Jakub Sokolik to the club on a permanent basis.

And the Shrimpers chief also revealed that loanee Cian Bolger could return to Roots Hall from Bolton Wanderers as the ankle injury he sustained on his debut at York City last month is not as bad as first feared.

“We thought Cian was going to be out for six to eight weeks but that’s not the case now and there’s a 50/50 chance of him coming back to us now,” said Brown.

“That would give us all a huge boost and so too would signing Jakub.

“We’re fairly hopeful of bringing him in until the end of the season but there are still some talks which need to take place.

“Whether or not that can all be done in time for the game tonight I’m not sure.”

Seventh placed Blues head in to the game without a win in 10 games while Scunthorpe have not been beaten in their last 19 outings.

But Brown is hoping that can work in his side’s favour.

“If we’re playing the numbers game then we must be due a win and Scunthorpe must be due a defeat so hopefully that’s the case tonight,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“We need to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in because it’s all about our mentality and not our ability at this stage.”