SOUTHEND United have made a double swoop to ease their defensive shortage.

The Shrimpers currently have just two recognised centre-backs in their squad with just a week to go until the start of the League Two season.

But Echosport understands boss Phil Brown has made a contract offer to trialist defender Mads Ibenfeldt and he is also keen to bring Cian Bolger back to Roots Hall.

The towering centre-back, who stands at 6 foot 4 inches tall, played once on loan with the Shrimpers last season – at York City - before getting injured.

But it is now believed Blues are now looking to try and bring in the 22-year-old Irishman.

Southend chief Brown refused to comment on Bolger’s future but did admit to offering a defender currently at the club on trial, which is understood to be Ibenfeldt, a permanent deal.

“There is a defender we have with us at the moment who we feel has performed sufficiently well enough to be offered a contract,” said Brown.

“We’ve made him an offer and we’re waiting to hear back from him.

“But I won’t be saying in public who the defender is until he comes back with his decision.”

Blues currently have two centre-backs on trial, Ibenfeldt and Ben Richards-Everton.

The duo have played in Blues’ recent pre-season friendlies with Dane Ibenfeldt the more impressive of the pair.

The giant defender was recommended to boss Brown by Gillingham boss Peter Taylor who had him on trial at the Kent club last season.

And he could now be heading to the Shrimpers who remain desperately short of defenders with Luke Prosser and Adam Thompson currently the only recognised centre-backs in the squad.