NOEL Hunt has rejected Southend United’s offer of a new contract.

The 33-year-old striker has opted to reject a more pay-as-you-play-type deal to remain at Roots Hall.

But boss Phil Brown insists contract talks will continue with the Irishman.

“We’ve heard back from Noel’s agent and we’ve been advised that he has decided to reject the contract we’ve offered him," said Brown.

"But as far as I’m concerned that’s not the end of the matter.

“It’s certainly not dead in the water at this stage and we will continue to talk to Noel and his agent because I do think a fit Noel Hunt would score goals on a regular basis in League One.

“We just need to keep him fit.”

The experienced Hunt joined the Shrimpers instead of a switch to Chicago before the start of last season.

But he endured an injury-ravaged first campaign with the club.

The former Reading man started just 19 games and hit the back of the net four times.

Speaking before the end of last season Hunt insisted he would be interested in staying at Southend and stressed the need to secure a more solid pre-season.

However he has been unavailable for comment throughout the summer break.