SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is determined to strengthen his defensive options this summer.

The Shrimpers chief remains in contract talks with Anton Ferdinand and Adam Thompson.

But, even if the duo both stay at Blues, Brown will be looking to bring in more defenders.

“We definitely need to look at bringing in at least one centre-back this summer, if not two,” said Brown.

“We’re still in contract talks with Anton Ferdinand and Adam Thompson and those talks are ongoing at the moment.

“But even if they stay we will definitely need to bring in more defenders.”

Thompson and Ferdinand were the Shrimpers’ first choice centre-back pairing for most of last season.

However, two shoulder injuries suffered by on loan Crystal Palace defender Ryan Inniss left Brown short of cover and competition at the heart of the back four for large spells of the season.

John White, who is also in contract negotiations with the Shrimpers, filled in admirably at centre-back despite naturally being a full-back but Brown is still looking for reinforcements.

He is also keen to keep those already at the club and will therefore be heading to Manchester this week to hold more talks with Thompson who is currently training with Northern Ireland’s national squad.

“I’ll be going there to have a look and to have a few talks,” said Brown.

“I’m looking forward to picking the brains of Michael O’Neill and finding out how Tommo has got on.”

But Brown is also keen to sort things closer to home and could also look to sign a right winger this summer.

“We could maybe have a look at bringing in another right sided player in midfield,” said Brown, who released Luke O’Neill and Zavon Hines at the end of last season.

“We’re still in talks with Will Atkinson and that’s also ongoing but we will still look at bringing in a right winger.

“I’ve met with a few players already but it’s at this time of year that football seems to stop still.”