SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin will take his time before deciding whether or not to keep controversial striker Nile Ranger at the club.

Ranger has been jailed for eight months for an online banking fraud after a woman was fleeced out of more than £2,000.

But the Blues chairman told Echosport he has yet to decide if the striker still has a future at Roots Hall.

“The club needs time to consider its position and also the impact of this startling, unexpected, outcome in court on Nile Ranger both as a person, as well as a player for Southend United,” said Martin.

“As I have said previously, this offence occurred long before Nile joined the club and everyone deserves a second chance, which the club has afforded Nile.

“Nile Ranger is unlikely to ever be a model professional, however during his time at Southend his behaviour has been acceptable and improved.

“We have worked hard at rehabilitation and Nile has responded well to his team mates both on and off the pitch.

“At this time, the club is awaiting details of the court hearing and will review the details before coming to any decision surrounding Nile’s future.”

Ranger appeared at Wood Green Crown Court for sentence this afternoon after he previously admitted conspiracy to defraud alongside Aseany Duncan, 19, from Enfield, North London.

Ranger pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud - namely that on February 18 2015 he conspired with persons unknown to defraud Diane Bloss, by obtaining her personal online banking details and transferring by way of an online transaction of £2,090.23 from an HSBC account to a Santander account.

Ranger joined Blues in July 2016, initially on a year long deal before being handed an extended contract.

The former Newcastle United forward signed a three and half year deal in early December but, just a month later, found himself in more trouble.

Ranger was suspended by the Shrimpers following a serious breach of club discipline and missed four matches before being allowed to return.

The forward found top form towards the end of last season and netted in four successive games to end the season with eight goals in 28 games.

Shrimpers boss Phil Brown opted not to comment on Ranger’s future but an Echosport poll, which attracted more than 1,000 votes, saw 57 per cent of fans wanting the striker to stay.