SOUTHEND United defender Julian Bennett has suffered a setback in his return from a cruciate ligament injury.

The centre-back, who has been out since August, resumed running again last week.

But that has led to a problem with an internal stitch on his knee which manager Phil Brown confirmed could put Bennett back another two months in his rehabilitation.

“It’s a blow for Julian and ourselves because everything was starting to look positive again for him,” said the Blues boss.

“He was back outside running around the training ground and we had him featured in both the programme and the Echo.

“But unfortunately he felt something while he was doing that running and one of the internal stitches he had in place had snapped.

“That’s set him back another six to eight weeks and whether or not he will play again this season now I don’t know.

“I really do feel for him and we all wish him the best with coming back from this setback.”

Bennett joined Blues at the start of the season after impressing while on trial. But he suffered a cruciate ligament injury on his debut against Yeovil Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup.

The 29-year-old has previously played for Walsall, Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace, Sheffield Wednesday and Shrewsbury Town.

But doubts will now surround the defender’s future at Roots Hall as his contract with the club expires at the end of the season.