LEE Barnard will stay at Southend United for another season.
The 29-year-old striker scored just once in 13 appearances during a six month loan spell from Southampton at the end of last season.
But the Echo now also understands that a year long contract was agreed for the former Mayflower School pupil at the same time.
Barnard bagged 37 goals in 85 games during a successful first spell with the Shrimpers which ended in January 2010 when he joined Southampton.
He also impressed while with the Saints before being struck by a succession of injuries.
Barnard had not played for eight months before coming back to Blues.
And the forward will now be hoping that with a full pre-season behind him he will be able to return to his best and start to hit the back on a more regular basis.
However, while Barnard will be staying at Roots Hall, centre-back Mark Phillips has confirmed on Twitter that he will be leaving.
Phillips made 114 appearances for Blues across four seasons and was ended the previous campaign on loan at Aldershot Town.