SOUTHEND United manager Chris Powell is determined to bolster his strike-force during the January transfer window.

Tom Hopper has been ruled out for the season while Shawn McCoulsky’s loan spell with the Shrimpers has also come to an end, leaving Powell short of attacking options.

But the 49-year-old insists he will rectify the situation before the end of the month, despite having so far been frustrated in his pursuit of players.

“Sadly one or two players who were available have broken into their sides during the third round of the FA Cup and I can’t see their clubs them letting them out now until the fourth round,” said Powell.

“They were players who were available but they’ve been given an opportunity and now they aren’t available just yet.

“It’s not great because I could wait and wait and then miss out but I’m definitely looking and we’ll get there.

“We’ll get there and I’ll be bringing in someone because we have to.

“But I have young Charlie Kelman and if I have to use him I will.”

Powell could be particularly short of strikers for Saturday’s clash with Plymouth Argyle which will see Theo Robinson serve a one match suspension.

The striker was sent off against Gillingham last time out after being shown two late yellow cards in quick succession late on.

That could leave Simon Cox as the Shrimpers’ only available striker after McCoulsky’s loan spell from Bristol City was brought to an end to allow the forward to join Forest Green Rovers.

“Bristol City have been great and we had spoken to them regularly,” said Powell.

“Whenever Shawn didn’t get the minutes he would play for their under 23s which we would always watch.

“He learnt a lot here but it was tough for him.

“They made a decision to sell him which I kind of knew but I said we needed him during the Christmas period just in case.

“I’ve wished him well and I’ve spoken to him and text him too.

“But he scored goals at League Two level last season and I hope he goes and does that again for Forest Green now.”

Powell - whose side host Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night - is now assessing alternative options.

And the Blues boss was at Tranmere Rovers’ FA Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night to watch a possible transfer target.