SOUTHEND United host Northampton Town tomorrow with their former defender Peter Gilbert still frustrated that the Shrimpers are not in League One.

The left-back has lined up for both the Shrimpers and the Cobblers during his career.

And he remains disappointed that Paul Sturrock’s Blues side missed out on promotion during the 2011/12 season, despite ending the season with 83 points.

“I still look back now and get frustrated that we didn’t get promotion that year,” said Gilbert, who made 71 appearances during two seasons with the Shrimpers.

“I think it was the only time in about 20 years a team hadn’t been promoted with that points tally so it was hard to take.

“It was very regrettable but there can be no excuses and we should really have gone up that year as we were in the top three right up until the final few weeks.”

The Shrimpers missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season before being beaten by Crewe Alexandra in the play-offs.

Gilbert lined up in both of the games against the Railwaymen but the second leg proved to be his final game for the club.

“It was a disappointing because I spoke with the manager and he told me I would be getting offered a new contract,” said the 31-year-old.

“I was happy to stay but at the time I think the people above the manager were calling the shots and I never actually received the offer of a new deal.

“To make matters worse I was later told there were a couple of other clubs after me but they were both told I was staying with Southend and looked elsewhere.

“That left me with nothing which was disappointing but I would still say I enjoyed my time at Southend.”

Gilbert arrived at Roots Hall in the summer of 2010 during an incredibly uncertain time for the Shrimpers.

Seventeen players were signed on pre contracts by Paul Sturrock as the club remained under a transfer embargo.

And Gilbert remembers it being a strange first few days in his new surroundings.

“I was the first new player to come to the club and the lads already there from the previous season were all looking to leave,” said the defender.

“They were asking me why on earth I wanted to come here but I was excited by the move and wanted to work with Paul Sturrock again.

“We actually did well that first season too, finishing 12th or 13th which was very good considering what we had been through.

“Stockport were in a similar position and went down so we did well and it set us up nicely for the following season too.

“We went through a lot together both on and off the field but it made as a team and that got us through games when we maybe weren’t quite playing so well.”

After leaving Southend, Gilbert spent time with Lincoln City and Dagenham & Redbridge before heading out to America.

He spent time training with Sacramento Republic in California and also lined up in a few friendlies.

One of those games was against Glasgow Rangers and saw Gilbert taking on his former Blues team-mate Bilel Mohsni who he famously clashed with after the Frenchman was sent off at Oldham Athletic in an FA Cup replay.

But an ankle injury, suffered on the day he was due to sign, eventually meant Gilbert missed out on playing any competitive fixtures for the club.

“I couldn’t believe my luck when it happened and it was really frustrating,” said Gilbert.

“I enjoyed being out there, the facilities are insane and it was fun playing in games against both West Brom and Glasgow Rangers.

“I spoke to Bilel and put behind us what went a few years ago.

“I’m now back in the UK but will be going back out to California for pre-season training and hope to sign for Sacramento this time.

“At the moment, I’m keeping fit and I’m also doing my coaching badges which is something else I’m interested in doing.

“I’ll also be keeping a keen eye on tomorrow’s game at Roots Hall but all I’ll say is I think it will be a hard game for both clubs!”