SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown expects Ryan Leonard to remain fully committed to the Shrimpers - despite his desire to leave.

Blues have knocked back an improved offer of £350,000 from Sheffield United and remain determined to keep hold of the energetic midfielder.

But Brown does not believe that will result in Leonard downing tools to try and force through a move.

“Lenny won’t drift into the dark side of the game,” said the Blues boss.

“He’s a genuine lad due to his upbringing and family values, the way he is as a person and his agent as well.

“We’ve had another offer from a club in the Championship but the chairman has turned it down.

“I’m glad that the chairman is standing his ground and as far as we’re concerned Lenny will still be a Southend player next season.”

Millwall have also had a £300,000 offer for Leonard rejected this summer but Blues have a far higher valuation of the 25-year-old.

“The offers we’ve had are nowhere near our valuation,” said Brown.

“Our valuation will stay private and we’re not even telling Lenny what it is.

“It’s between the clubs and no-one else but Lenny would be very, very difficult to replace.

“I know he has ambitions to play higher and I back that ambition 100 per cent but he’s contracted to Southend United.”

Leonard joined Blues in 2011 and has made 236 appearances for the club.