SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin remains determined to keep Ryan Leonard at Roots Hall.

Leonard - who is wanted by Championship duo Millwall and Sheffield United - is keen to be given the chance to play at a higher level.

But Martin insists he will not let the 25-year-old leave.

“Ryan isn’t for sale,” said Martin.

“We understand Lenny’s wish to test himself at the next level, however the club wishes to be at the next level too and to achieve that objective it doesn’t make any sense to sell our influential players.”

Martin has rejected a £300,000 offer from Millwall this summer while Sheffield United have also had a £250,000 bid knocked back.

And the chairman believes Leonard will continue to make a big difference to the team.

“We would all be delighted if Lenny stays with us,” said Martin.

“He’s a pivotal member of the squad, well liked and a great professional.

“Next year is vital for us and Lenny can make that difference.

“I hope he reflects, talks to the manager in a week or two and sees what deal we can structure for him to encourage his continuing and valued commitment to Southend United.”

Leonard, who has a year left on his contract, has been Blues’ player of the year in the past two seasons and has made 236 appearances for the club since signing in 2011.