SOUTHEND United has been hit with a “final” six-week adjournment to settle with creditors or face liquidation as the long-awaited sale of the club remains incomplete.

Yesterday, a winding up petition issued by Stewart’s Law was adjourned at the High Court.

However the judge marked it as the “final” time the hearing would be pushed back.

Long-standing owner Ron Martin exchanged contracts with Justin Rees and his consortium back in December but the completion of the deal has dragged on as Southend Council carries out due diligence over housing contracts.

Southend Council now faces a race against time to agree plans for 1,300 homes at Fossetts Farm, including 400 homes which were set to be built at Roots Hall.

A previous high court hearing in April was adjourned for four weeks in a bid to allow the sale of the club to be completed.

The due diligence process could be delayed further as Southend Council changes hands, with a Labour-led administration set to take control after the Tories lost seats at this month’s election.

Daniel Cowan, Labour leader, said: “I think the time frame is very tight. Six weeks to go through the level of due diligence and tying up all the other bits and pieces, is really not much time.

"But it is important to note that the council has been working at pace the entire way through, so we will do our absolute best, whoever is in administration.

“My heart goes out to the fans, it is something you give so much of your life to, and are so passionate about, so I can understand how worried they are.

“But we need to focus on ensuring that any deal that happens is done in the absolute right way, and we will do everything we can to facilitate the completion of the consortium takeover.”

The consortium continue to fund the club and paid April’s wages and VAT to take their outlay to £3.5million.

CBRE, the funder of Mr Martin on behalf of a pension fund, is also yet to consent to the payment structure for Roots Hall’s refurbishment required under the deal.

Tony Cox, leader of Southend Council, added: “I am pleased with the adjournment. The due diligence is progressing. I know there had been some delays to that work down to other parties getting information over to be accessed so the due diligence can be completed.”

Stewarts Law filed the petition in February over unpaid bills after representing the club in previous court disputes with HM Revenue and Customs.