SOUTHEND United have joined the race to sign Bradford City defender Rory McArdle.

The Shrimpers are keen to sign a new centre-back following Adam Thompson’s decision to join Bury.

But Blues will face stiff competition to bring in the 30-year-old as Scunthorpe United remain firm favourites to sign him.

McArdle, who previously played for Sheffield Wednesday, Rochdale and Aberdeen, has been with Bradford since 2012, making 231 appearances.

The experienced defender - who has played internationally for Northern Ireland - is also attracting interest from Peterborough United and is still in contract talks with Bradford City, who he helped reach the final of the League One play-offs last season.