STEPHEN Hendrie is closing in on a return to Southend United, Echosport understands.

The left-back - who made five appearances while on loan with the Shrimpers at the start of 2016 - is available on a free transfer after being released by West Ham United.

And Blues are now confident of being able to bring 22-year-old Hendrie back to Roots Hall on a permanent basis.

Shrimpers boss Phil Brown is believed to be keen on signing Hendrie, who he feels could also be used on the left hand side of midfield.

And if Hendrie does rejoin then his first competitive game could come against Blackburn Rovers, who he was on loan with last season.

Blues are also in advanced talks with a creative midfielder at a Scottish Premiership club.