SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown has rekindled his interest in former Queens Park Rangers striker Hogan Ephraim.

The Shrimpers boss was unsuccessful in his attempts to bring the 26-year-old to Roots Hall on loan last season.

And he is again expecting a fight on his hands to sign the ex England youth international.

“It goes without saying we're interested in Hogan but we're not the only ones following his release from QPR,” confirmed Brown.

“He has been recommended to me by Harry Redknapp and is someone who I've been aware of for quite some time now.

“I was keen to bring him in last season and I've put another call in to him now so he's aware of our interest.

“He ideally wants to play higher than League Two and could have some interest from clubs in the Championship.

“If that's the case then that would obviously rule us out.

“But I'm not giving up hope and he is somebody who would be excellent in League Two for sure.

“Having him on the left and Kevan Hurst on the right at this level would be something quite special.”

Ephraim came through the ranks at West Ham United before spending time on loan with Colchester United.

After that he joined QPR and made 117 appearances while at Loftus Road.

During that spell he was also sent out on loan to Leeds United, Charlton Athletic, Bristol City and Peterborough United and the striker is now available on a free transfer after being released by QPR.

Brown will also be meeting with another transfer target this weekend.

But he will not be working with John Egan next season after the centre-back agreed to join League One side Gillingham.

Egan excelled while on loan with the Shrimpers from Sunderland at the end of last season and Brown had been keen to snap the Irishman up on a permanent deal.

However, Egan – who also attracted interest from Championship club Blackburn Rovers – has now opted to join the Gills.