SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown expects Anton Ferdinand to be fit to face Charlton Athletic this weekend, despite the defender suffering an ankle injury against AFC Wimbledon on Boxing Day.

The 31-year-old appeared to be limping late on in the 3-0 win over the Dons.

But Brown does not think the centre-back will be forced onto the sidelines.

“Anton took a whack to the ankle towards the end of the Wimbledon game and it caused him a bit of discomfort but it’s not an actual injury so I think he’ll be fine,” said Brown.

“We’ll monitor the situation throughout the week but at the moment I don’t see him missing the Charlton game which is good news because he’s a big player for us.”

Ferdinand joined the Shrimpers in late August and has been hugely impressive at the heart of the back four.

The former West Ham United defender has also skippered the side in recent weeks and Brown believes he has been influential in turning around his team’s fortunes.

“We’ve lost once in something like 17 games when Anton has played and I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” said the 57-year-old.

“He’s a big player for us and has helped us get the four clean sheets in our last six league games.”