SOUTHEND United midfielder Dru Yearwood is not yet ready to return from a hamstring injury.

The highly-rated 18-year-old picked up the problem in the final game of last season against Bristol Rovers at Roots Hall.

And, after suffering a setback, Yearwood will still be sidelined when the Shrimpers line up against Great Wakering Rovers at Burroughs Park tomorrow.

“Dru has suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury,” confirmed Blues boss Chris Powell.

“He won’t be involved at Wakering tomorrow and we won’t take him abroad next week either.

“I don’t know when he will be back but he’s in the capable hands of (physio) Ben Clarkson.

“I trust Ben and what he does with our injured players.

“He will tell me exactly what’s going on but at the moment Dru is not with us and that’s a shame because we all know what he’s about.

“We know what he did last season and what he will do again in the future.”

And joining Yearwood in the treatment room is centre-back Rob Kiernan.

The defender has been out of action since last August and has undergone surgery on both of his knees in a bid to regain full fitness.

But Kiernan is still a long way off being ready to return.

“Rob is nowhere near ready to train with us at the moment,” said Powell.

“He’s in but sometimes people don’t realise how tough it can be for someone like that when they’re out for a long time.

“When you’re looking out of the window seeing everyone laughing and joking while working hard and getting fit it’s hard because that’s what you want to be doing too.

“It’s been frustrating for him but we have to keep him involved and hopefully there will be light at the end of the tunnel soon.”

And goalkeeper Ted Smith is still working his way back to full fitness.

The Shrimpers shot-stopper has been sidelined since September with a shoulder problem which eventually required an operation.

But Powell hopes to have the 22-year-old custodian back within the next couple of months.

“Ted won’t be available for the Wakering game but his operation has been successful,” said Powell, who handed Smith a new one-year deal in the summer.

“We’re hopeful he will be ready in a month or two and it will be good to have him back with us.”

Smith came through the youth ranks at Roots Hall and has made 29 first team appearances for the club.