SOUTHEND United’s assistant manager Graham Coughlan has described Adam Thompson’s departure as a ‘big loss’ for the club.

Centre-back Thompson has opted to join Bury after turning down the Shrimpers’ offer of a new contract.

And Coughlan admitted Thompson would be missed at Roots Hall.

“There’s no denying that this is a big loss for us,” said Coughlan.

“He’s been a big character at the club and he’s somebody with a great work ethic and attitude who we have seen really develop during his fours years here.

“He thoroughly deserved his recent call up into the Northern Ireland squad and I think it’s important we thank him for his efforts and what he helped us to achieve.

“We’ve made the play-offs, been promoted, consolidated our position in League One and nearly made the play-offs again while he’s been with us so it’s sad to see him go and we’re going to miss him.”

But Coughlan also stressed the Shrimpers would now be looking to sign a replacement as they look to push on again next season.

“Every single club loses players during the summer and we will have to make sure we recruit well to replace Tommo now,” said the Irishman.

“I’m sure we will do that and we’ll be looking to push on next season and make sure we improve again.”

Thompson made 45 appearances for the Shrimpers last season and played 120 times during his time his club.

However, the 24-year-old has now opted to make the switch to Gigg Lane, much to the delight of Bury boss Lee Clark.

“I am delighted to have signed Adam,” said Clark.

“He’s a fantastic player who is used to playing at the top end of League One, having just missed out on promotion to the Championship with Southend United last season.

“I have seen Adam operate at close quarters this season and he was very impressive, and it’s that impressive form which has led to his call-up to the Northern Ireland squad. Adam is a fantastic signing for us.

I am thrilled to have signed a young, talented, international player who is at the age where we can still help him develop and he can help us improve.”

Ironically, Thompson’s last appearance for the Shrimpers came in a 1-0 win against Bury on the final day of last season.

Despite the defeat, the Shakers were able to avoid relegation by a single point but they are looking to vastly improve next term.