PETER Gilbert has left Southend United.

The left-back has made 71 appearances during two seasons at Roots Hall.

But, following the arrival of Anthony Straker from Aldershot Town, Blues boss Paul Sturrock has now decided to let Gilbert leave.

“I’ve made the decision not to offer Gilly a new deal now,” confirmed Sturrock, who had previously worked with Gilbert at both Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday.

“With Anthony having come in I feel that the remaining money in our budget would be better spent strengthening other areas.

“We have Luke Prosser who will be looking to put pressure on Anthony for the shirt, while Ryan Hall and Michael Timlin have also filled in at left-back before as well.

“Chris Barker has played there for most of his career too so we we’re well covered in that area but Gilly leaves with our very best wishes from both myself and the football club.”

Gilbert drifted in and out the side last term but found the best form of his spell at Southend towards the end of last season.

And, despite deciding to let him leave, Sturrock insisted he remained a big fan of the 28-year-old.

“I know people have their opinions of Gilly but mine is he’s the best defensive left-back in the league,” said Sturrock.

“This season I’ve just decided to go for something different though and I’ve brought in Anthony as I feel he’s more attack minded.

“He will get us on the front foot and that’s something I feel we need to do in our home matches this year.”