SOUTHEND United remain in talks with Leyton Orient about the future of midfielder Marc Laird.

The Scotsman scored twice in 15 games during a two-month loan spell at Roots Hall, which came to an end following Blues’ 1-0 defeat at home to Gillingham on Tuesday.

But the club remain confident of keeping hold of the midfielder and completing a deal in time for him to face Brentford in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend.

Tamika Mkandawire’s loan spell from Millwall also expired following the defeat to the Gills and he has headed back to the Den to discuss his future.

That could still lead to him being sent back out on loan but, if that does happen, the Echo understands that Blues will face a fight for his signature as League One sides as well as League Two leaders Gillingham are now also keen on signing him.