SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown has revealed the quality of Nile Ranger’s pre-season regime could determine his future with the club.

Ranger has been jailed for eight months for online banking fraud.

And Brown does not want the striker at the Shrimpers if he is not going to be fully fit.

“It’s a very sensitive subject and there’s still a lot going on but, for me, a lot will depend on what kind of pre-season Nile can have,” said Brown.

“There’s a lot to take on board and to be considered but we have to try and find out what’s possible because pre-season is imperative for any footballer.

“I don’t want a repeat of last season when Nile is constantly chasing his tail trying to get fit and ends up breaking down.

“I’ve seen all sides of the arguments and I understand it all.

“But Nile needs to understand why he’s been sent to prison and how much support he’s been given.

“When he comes out there needs to be a level of remorse but there are still plenty of talks which need to take place.”

Ranger missed 24 of the Shrimpers’ 52 games last season and ended the campaign with eight goals in 28 appearances.

But the striker is now facing an uncertain future in football.

And Brown has started to look elsewhere for another forward.

“I’m looking at what’s available in terms of a new striker but I would have been doing that even if this situation hadn’t arisen with Nile,” said the Blues boss.

“You’re always looking to improve the team and that’s part and parcel of management.

“You see who is available in all areas but of course we are now looking even harder for a new striker.

“There is one who is available who could well prove to be far too expensive.

“If we made a move we would have to move someone else on and maybe that’s something we might have to consider.”