SOUTHEND United manager Kevin Bond must decide whether or not to take risks on players who are not fully fit for Friday's crunch clash at Walsall.

Stephen McLaughlin and Stephen Humphrys have both returned to action for Blues despite not being fully fit while defender Harry Lennon faces a late check on a groin problem ahead of this afternoon’s game.

But Bond will carefully consider who he selects.

“If you put yourself forward to play it’s a help but I have to weigh up whether or not a 70, 80 or 90 per cent fit first team regular is good enough for us at this moment in time,” said Bond.

“We need people who are prepared to put themselves forward and play when they’re not 100 per cent fit but sometimes you don’t do yourself any favours by playing when you’re not fit.

“It’s a call we all have to make between us.”

McLaughlin came on as a second half substitute against Wycombe Wanderers last weekend after recovering from a calf problem.

But Bond is fully aware the Irishman is not yet back to his best.

“Stephen McLaughlin is someone whose fitness levels and sharpness are going to be short,” said Bond.

“He’s not had the training he needs.

“You’re looking at what these players can do for you when they’re at their best but they’re not going to be at their best because they’re playing with a knock when normally you wouldn’t ask them to.

“If they don’t perform then it’s difficult to be critical because they’ve actually stood up to be counted.

“Ultimately, you have to weigh it up and we will have to decide whether or not it’s worth taking the risk.”

Harry Bunn - who was on the bench last weekend after suffering a tight hamstring at Fleetwood Town - has trained all week for Blues but midfielder Luke Hyam is expected to miss out with a hamstring problem.

Right-back Jason Demetriou will definitely be unavailable against his former side after suffering a knee injury against Wycombe Wanderers last weekend.

Long term absentees Ben Coker, Tom Hopper, Sam Barratt and Harry Kyprianou are still sidelined.