SOUTHEND United manager Kevin Bond says it will not be long until Stephen Humphrys is back in action.

The striker has been sidelined since late February when breaking his nose and suffering a fractured cheekbone and eye socket when scoring against Accrington Stanley.

But Humphrys is now edging closer to a return, much to the delight of Bond.

"Stephen has been doing some fitness work," said Bond.

"He hasn’t been able to do any contact work yet so he’s missed a lot of training and he hasn’t been able to do anything so he’s a bit short.

"It will be about the mental approach for him too.

"He’s had a lot of damage to his face, he will have to wear a mask and he will have to be comfortable with that.

"He will have to get through his first training session and having a whack on it to think he’s OK.

"But it will give everyone a lift when he's back and it might not be long until he’s available to us."

Humphrys has scored four goals in seven games for Blues since signing from Fulham in January.