SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown is considering handing Michael Turner a shock call-up at Wigan Athletic this weekend.

Blues are without a recognised centre-back for the clash at the DW Stadium.

And Brown is therefore considering handing Turner - who has been out injured since July - his first start of the season.

“It would be a huge gamble but it’s one we might have to take,” said Brown.

“By the end of the week Michael will have been back in training for two-and-a-half weeks, but that’s mainly been running.

“It would be a high risk strategy but that’s where we are at the moment.

“I’ll be talking to him about how he feels about starting on Saturday but he hasn't made up his mind by Thursday then I'll look elsewhere.

With Harry Kyprianou suffering a thigh injury at Doncaster Rovers at the weekend and Anton Ferdinand being handed a two game suspension following his dismissal after the final whistle, Brown will be short of centre-backs at the DW Stadium.

And the Shrimpers chief is carefully considering his options.

“We have John White who can play in there and there are one or two who can play alongside him,” said Brown.

“Ryan Leonard did well there against Rochdale earlier on in the season, I think Jason Demetriou could do a job there at the weekend too due to Wigan’s strikers as well as Michael Turner."

Turner - who joined Blues in the summer - has yet to play this season after suffering a hamstring injury in July, but he returned to training last week.

Fellow defender Rob Kiernan has not featured since the second league game of the season and will again be absent with a knee injury this weekend, which could lead to Brown changing formations.

“I remember a few years back we went to Northampton and played with John White and Ben Coker in a back three and it worked well,” said Brown.

“We lost the game on a set piece but the performance was good so there’s that formation to be thinking about too.

“Dan Matsuzaka is another option, so there’s still plenty to think about despite the lack of numbers.”