SOUTHEND United have begun their search to replace the injured Michael Timlin.

The 27-year-old midfielder has been ruled out for the rest of the season after breaking his left leg during Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Leyton Orient in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

And Blues are already looking at bringing in reinforcements on loan.

“It’s very disappointing that Michael has picked up an injury like this because he’s a very important part of the team, but we are actively looking to bring in a replacement,” said a club spokesman.

“The loan window opens again today but we have one or two things to weigh up because we can only bring someone in for a maximum of 93 days.

“If we wait until February 15 then that would mean whoever we brought in would be available for the play-off final if we got there.

“So we therefore need to decide on the length of any loan deal we do and what level to bring them in from.

“We’re particularly short of midfielders for the JPT where Michael Spillane and Marc Laird are both cup tied, but promotion remains the number one aim so we will have to see who is available and what we can do.”

But Timlin will definitely not be figuring again this term after suffering a clean break of the tibia in the closing stages against the O’s.

The former Fulham trainee will have an operation next week which will keep him sidelined for at least six months.

But he already has his sights set on returning a stronger player.

“I’m gutted that my season is over, but I will come back even stronger and more determined,” said Timlin.

“I’m going to try and make sure I come back like a machine, but of course it’s disappointing.

“It wasn’t a bad tackle from their player at all and I think it was just his follow through that caught me, which is just one of those things that can happen in football.

“Since it happened I’ve had lots of nice messages of support already, which I really appreciate, and I’ll be backing the lads all the way for the rest of the season and hope it can be a successful one for us.”