SOUTHEND United manager Chris Powell is considering handing fit-again goalkeeper Ted Smith his first start in 17 months tonight.

Smith has been sidelined by shoulder and leg injuries since lining up against Newport County in August 2017.

But Powell could call upon the shot-stopper for this evening's Checkatrade Trophy clash against Portsmouth at Roots Hall.

"Ted is chomping at the bit and if and when he plays he won’t let us down," said Powell.

"He’s shown people he’s capable but he’s had a serious knock-back.

"What he needs now is game-time and if we play him against Portsmouth it won’t weaken us at all.

"He’s trained really well and he wants to be involved.

"He’s a keeper we all have high hopes for and he’s definitely in the squad but we’ll have to see if he plays or not."

Blues' first choice goalkeeper Mark Oxley is currently sidelined with a back injury and has been replaced by Nathan Bishop for the past four games.