SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is now unsure if Ben Coker will be ready to return at Shrewsbury Town tomorrow.
The Shrimpers chief had been confident earlier in the week that the left-back would be able to face the Shrews after recovering from a knee injury.
However, Coker’s return to full training has not gone as well as hoped.
And Brown now fears the defender will be unable to figure this weekend.
“Ben did a full training session and I was confident he would have a major role to play at Shrewsbury but unfortunately he’s still feeling the injury,” said Brown.
“I don’t want to put him back in if he’s going to break down and maybe it might be too much of a risk, I’m not sure.
“If he trains today I still might throw him in but we’ll have to wait and see how he’s feeling.”
Coker has missed Blues’ last four matches after picking up the injury during training while his potential replacement, John White, is also struggling to be fit.
White - who filled in at left-back in a 4-0 win at Chesterfield last weekend - missed Monday’s 2-1 defeat against MK Dons with a knee problem.
But Brown believes the defender is 50/50 to be fit to face the Shrews.
“I’m hoping John will be fit to play and he’ll certainly be travelling but I would say it’s 50/50 as to whether or not he’s going to be fit,” said Brown.
“Ben is probably less than 50/50 if I’m honest but I’m certainly not going to write off his season because of the type of character he is.”
Michael Timlin could therefore continue at left-back in Saturday’s clash but Brown has no other fresh injury concerns.
“Other than those who have been injured for a while everyone else is available,” said Brown, whose side will train at Aston Villa this afternoon.
“Anton Ferdinand and Nile Ranger are fully fit.”