SOUTHEND United are close to completing the loan signing of Brighton & Hove Albion centre-back Glen Rea, Echosport understands.

The 20-year-old defender lined up for the Seagulls in the first round of the Capital One Cup at Roots Hall earlier on this season.

And, while Shrimpers boss Phil Brown was not willing to confirm the identity of his transfer target, he did admit to being close to completing another loan deal for a defender.

“I still want to bring in a centre-back and we’re making progress with it now,” said Brown.

“A deal is close to being done now and hopefully we can get it over the line because we’re short at the back at the moment.

“Adam Thompson is not likely to be available for selection until the start of October and we’re still waiting to see how Cian Bolger’s shoulder injury settles down so it’s important we act.”

Rea has captained Republic of Ireland at under-21 level and has made two appearances for Brighton’s first team after coming through the club’s youth system.

Should he arrive at Blues then he would challenge Luke Prosser and Adam Barrett, Southend’s only available centre-backs, for a starting slot.

But Thompson will also soon be looking to challenge.

The defender looks set to end three months of discussions by signing a year-long contract with the Shrimpers today.

“Hopefully we’re there with Tommo now,” said Brown.

“He’s still on the way back from the shoulder injury he suffered against Mansfield Town back in April but it will be good to have him back in the squad when he’s fit again.”

Thompson made 29 appearances for the Shrimpers last season before being sidelined by injury.

It is also understood the contract he will sign includes the option of a further year should Blues wish to extend it.