SOUTHEND centre Sonny Gay is set to continue playing through the pain in a bid to lift the club away from the relegation zone.

Gay played the whole of Saturday’s 31-15 defeat at Bournemouth, despite suffering with a serious shoulder injury.

But he remains determined to stay in the side until undergoing surgery.

“I’ve dislocated the shoulder four times now and there’s something missing at the top of it which means it pops out quite easily now,” said Gay, 22.

“It needs an operation to stop it happening so often but until I have it I’ll carry on playing.

“If it dislocates again then I might call it a day until I have surgery but I don’t know when the op will be at the moment.

“I’m waiting to hear back from the NHS but once I have it I will be out for three months.

“It’s frustrating and it can be quite painful at times during games if I take a knock on where the problem is.

“But I try not to think about it once the game gets going and I just want to help the team do well.”

The Seasiders’ reverse was their fourth in succession and kept them third from bottom in the National Two South standings.

Bournemouth opened the scoring when Dan Connolly drove over the line but the visitors hit straight back as Sam Cook bustled over after a driving run from Danny Cleare.

In reply, Scott Chislett found space down the left to put the hosts 12-7 up but Southend’s scrum half Perry Sansom then caught his own kick to burst over just before the break to ensure the teams were level at half-time.

However, Bournemouth came out with renewed purpose in the second half and overpowered the Seasiders.

As a result, Billy Driver’s deliberate knock on resulted in a penalty try for the hosts nine minutes after the restart and Dan Pollard converted.

Chris Hughes and Tommy Booth then both also scored tries to seal victory for Bournemouth.

And Southend will now need to bounce back against bottom of the table Barking at Warners Bridge this weekend.

“We’re getting punished all the time for the little lapses we have in games and we need that to stop, starting on Saturday,” said Gay.

“It’s a very big game against Barking because they’re down at the bottom with us and we need to go and beat them, ideally with a bonus point as well.”

Southend: Jones, Cleare, Gay, Vaughan, Driver, Burr, Sansom, Irvine, Grier, Bailey, McClintock, Ox, Barker, Hudson, Cook

Replacements: Strachan, Keenan, Douglas, Ashton & MacGeachy