PHIL Brown insists he remains solely focused on Southend United despite being flattered by speculation linking him with a return to Bolton Wanderers.

Blues boss Brown is the bookmakers’ favourite to take over at the Trotters following Neil Lennon’s dismissal yesterday afternoon.

And, despite reiterating his happiness at Roots Hall, Brown confirmed he is also keen to get back to the top of the game.

“I’m happy as manager of Southend United but I am ambitious I want to get back to the highest possible level,” said Brown, who has been in charge of the Shrimpers for the past three years.

“I want to have another crack at the Premier League but I have a big job on my hands with Southend and that’s all I’m focusing on at the moment.

“Speculation is always flattering because it means you’re doing well but all I’m thinking about is Southend and I would like to think our performance at Barnsley on Saturday showed that.”

Blues triumphed 2-0 against the Tykes and are now just four points below the play-off positions with 10 games to go.

Brown, who led Blues to promotion via the League Two play-offs last season, is contracted to the club until the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

But he revealed another new deal had already been spoken about between him and the Shrimpers chairman Ron Martin.

“I’ve had plenty of conversations with the chairman about the future and new contracts have come up in those talks as well.

“There’s still work to be done here and we want to get this club back into the Championship.”

Despite Brown’s stance however, the bookmakers have installed him as 4/1 favourite to become the new boss of Wanderers who are currently bottom of the Championship.

Mark Cooper, Paul Ince, Nigel Pearson and Steve Clarke are also in the reckoning but Brown has links to the Trotters having played more than 250 times for them during a six year spell.

Brown, who is from the north-west of the country, has also been caretaker manager at the club as well as assistant manager when Sam Allardyce was in charge during their most successful spell in recent history.