Midfielder Alan McCormack has completed a permanent switch to Southend United.

The tough tackler has impressed during his loan spell from Championship promotion chasers Preston North End, scoring one goal in 10 games for the Shrimpers.

And Blues boss Steve Tilson is delighted to have made his first raid on the January sales by handing over a modest transfer fee for the Irishman - believed to be in the region of a bargain £30,000.

"Alan has been terrific since coming in," said the Southend manager, who has secured McCormack's services until 2009.

"It's no coincidence that our results have improved since he arrived because his energy has made the whole side lift their tempo.

"And It's excellent news that we have been able to make his loan move a permanent one."

Full story in today's Echo.