SOUTHEND United have completed the signing of defender Cian Bolger from Bolton Wanderers.

The 6 foot 4 inch tall centre-back played once on loan for the Shrimpers last season before getting injured.

But, as was revealed in Echosport last week, the 22-year-old has now returned to Roots Hall on a permanent basis, in a deal believed to be worth around £25,000.

And Blues boss Phil Brown, who was not willing to confirm the fee, feels the deal signals the club’s intentions for the forthcoming League Two season.

“I think this is a really big moment in my tenure as Southend United manager that we’ve put a transfer fee done for a player,” said Brown.

“I think it’s fantastic from the chairman and it shows the level of our intent going in to the new season.

“I thought it was important we brought in another defender and I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to get Cian on board.”

Bolger came through the youth ranks at Leicester City before joining Bristol Rovers on loan.

After that, Bolger was snapped up by Bolton Wanderers in January 2013 before spending time on loan with both Colchester United and Southend.

And Brown and his staff were suitably impressed by the Irishman.

“Dave Penney actually signed Cian for Bristol Rovers when he was there and Cocko (Graham Coughlan), who knows a thing or two about centre-backs, rates him too,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“We saw last season when Cian was with us that he’s not afraid to get stuck in and it was that kind of attitude which saw him pick up a couple of injuries in the game at York.

“I like that kind of commitment though and he’s had a decent pre-season as well so he should be fit.

“But whether or not he will be up to the fitness levels of the rest of the lads here I’m not sure just yet.”

Bolger will now do battle with Mads Ibenfeldt, Adam Thompson and Luke Prosser for a starting slot at centre-back.

Brown is therefore pleased with the depth of his squad but may still look to bring in one more signing.

“I think we have good competition for places now but I think we may need to bring in a utility player who can provide cover in the full-back positions,” added the Shrimpers chief.