SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown insists he will field a ‘very strong’ side for tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Colchester United.

The Shrimpers boss has previously made a number of changes to his starting line-up in the competition.

But that will not be happening at Roots Hall this evening.

“I will be picking a very strong side for this game,” said Brown.

“We want to get through to the knock-out stages of this competition and it’s a game we therefore need to win.

“The team I pick will reflect that and we will be going as strong as we possibly can because we want to beat Colchester and get through to the next stage.”

Blues - who beat Reading under 23s in their previous Checkatrade Trophy clash - go into tonight’s final group game sitting second in their four team table.

The Shrimpers are currently three points below leaders Gillingham and a point clear of third placed Colchester.

But, despite the need for a positive result, Brown may opt against playing midfielder Anthony Wordsworth against his former club due to concerns about his fitness.

“One of the niggles from Saturday was Anthony Wordsworth,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“He had been getting treatment for his calf and felt he could play at Yeovil at the weekend.

"But subsequently, when he came off we realised there’s a bit of a niggle in there and we won’t be risking anyone so there’s a decision to be made.”

However, Blues will definitely be without right-back Jason Demetriou who is away on international duty with Cyprus.

And that could lead to Michael Turner being handed his competitive Shrimpers debut at the heart of the back four.

“I could push John White to right-back and put Michael in alongside Anton Ferdinand,” said Brown.

“Michael is pushing for a place because he’s back fit and he’s done the hard yards on the training ground.

“I’ve got to have a look a him at some stage and this could be the first opportunity.”

Striker Nile Ranger is also among those pushing for a recall as Blues look to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat at Yeovil Town in the first round of the FA Cup.