BRIGHTON & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton has expressed his surprise at Southend United manager Phil Brown publicly declaring his interest in Glen Rea.

Brown told Echosport he was keen to keep Rea at Roots Hall following the end of his loan spell and would like to offer him a two and a half year deal.

But Hughton felt the comment should have been made behind closed doors.

“I know Phil very well and probably that’s the type of quote that nobody should really know about, because that’s a conversation that I’ve had with him,” said Hughton.

“At this moment Glen comes back and then we’ll assess it from there.

“For us it’s about a decision on whether he stays with us for a little while, or whether he goes somewhere where he can get more games.”

Rea, who can play in both defence and midfield, completed his loan spell with the Shrimpers in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers.

The 21-year-old made 16 appearances while with Blues, 10 of which came from the bench.