SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is expecting jailed striker Nile Ranger to stay with the Shrimpers next season.

Ranger is currently serving an eight month sentence after admitting conspiracy to defraud a woman out of more than £2,000 by obtaining personal banking details and transferring the cash to another account.

But Brown believes the 26-year-old will remain at Roots Hall.

“I’m very hopeful Nile will still be a Southend player next season and we can work towards him getting fit when he’s back with us,” said the Blues boss.

“I’ve had contact with Nile and it’s been very positive.

“He’s spending 23 hours a day in a cell so there isn’t much he can do fitness wise.

“We’re obviously hoping for an early release and when he’s back we will put him through his own pre-season to get him up to speed.”

The controversial striker scored eight goals in 28 games last season.