SOUTHEND United midfielder Ryan Leonard could make his 250th appearance for the club tonight.

The 25-year-old - who has been an ever present in the Shrimpers’ starting line-up this season - is just one game away from reaching the landmark.

But Blues boss Phil Brown has hinted Leonard could be among those rested for this evening’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Reading under-23s.

“We will be resting one or two and we did notice Ryan was flat out poleaxed on the floor at the final whistle on Saturday before getting up to jump all over Mark Oxley,” said Brown.

“He gets through a lot of work and the most important game for me this week is the one we have at Doncaster Rovers in the League on Saturday.”

And it could be in that game that Leonard makes his landmark appearance.

“For Lenny to be approaching 250 games at the age of 25 is something he should be very proud of,” said Brown.

“I didn’t come into the game until the age of 19 and Lenny probably had around 100 games at that point.

“To get 250 appearances for one club in today’s climate is also impressive and by the time he gets to 35 he should be approaching 700 to 800 games.

“It’s testament to him, his fitness levels and his mentality, along with his ability, that he’s been able to play so many games.

“But if he doesn’t get to make that appearance tonight then he will when we play at Doncaster.”

Leonard - who joined Blues in the summer of 2011 after being released by Plymouth Argyle - is also in line to make the 200th League start of his career this weekend.

The midfielder was wanted by both Sheffield United and Millwall during the summer but Shrimpers chairman Ron Martin opted to reject bids of £500,000.

Leonard has started 50 of Blues’ last 54 games but could be replaced by 17-year-old Dru Yearwood for this evening’s encounter against the Royals.

Yearwood started the Shrimpers’ previous game in the competition - a 2-1 defeat at Gillingham.

Reading’s under-23 side drew 2-2 at Colchester United in their first Trophy clash but were beaten 6-5 on penalties by the U’s.