LEON Cort has ended speculation surrounding a return to Southend United by announcing he is to retire.

The 34-year-old lined up as a trialist for the Shrimpers in their 2-1 defeat at Braintree Town on Saturday.

But he has now opted to stop playing.

“I decided last night that I will hang my boots up,” confirmed Cort.

“I just feel the time is right.”

Cort made 161 appearances during an impressive three year spell at the start of his career and went on to play 462 games following spells with Hull City, Crystal Palace, Stoke City and Burnley.

The future of the Shrimpers’ other remaining trialists still also remains unclear.

Right-back Gavin Hoyte, winger Roman-Michael Percil and the experienced Craig Fagan were all in action at the Amlin Stadium, along with another defender, Dan Leadbitter and striker Rowan Liburd.

However, Shrimpers boss Phil Brown hinted that decisions were close to being made and is expecting to add to his squad this week, with Rotherham United winger David Worrall still on his radar.

“We expect to complete a signing this week and we may well sign one of these trialists as well to make it two,”confirmed Brown.

“One or two of them showed up here against Braintree and one or two didn’t so we will be talking to them all very soon.

“We need to get our stock in place and we’re still short of that at the moment.”