SOUTHEND United boss Kevin Bond is hoping he will not need to call upon striker Stephen Humphrys again this season.

Humphrys, who broke his nose, eye socket and cheekbone during a horrific collision with Accrington Stanley goalkeeper Jonny Maxted in February, returned to face both Fleetwood Town and Wycombe Wanderers earlier this month.

But Bond feels Humphrys is still way short of full fitness and would ideally like to not use him again this term.

“Stephen trained really well yesterday but he’s still a fair way back with his fitness,” said Bond.

“His levels are getting better but he’s got the issue of his face, wearing the mask and going through challenge after challenge.

“In truth, in the game against Wycombe I think he came to realise it was too soon for him and I did too.

“It’s physical and mental and we spoke about it afterwards.”

However, Bond also hinted he may call upon Humphrys if Blues are still fighting to secure their League One status.

“We needed him to work hard on his fitness so he can be there if we need him and that’s where we are with him,” said Bond.

“In truth, I hope we don’t need to use him but he could be if we need him to be.”

Humphrys scored four goals in seven games before suffering the nasty injury against Accrington and seems unlikely to start at Rochdale tomorrow.

The 21-year-old ended last season on loan at Dale, scoring three goals in 18 games but did not feature against Burton on Monday.

Simon Cox partnered Harry Bunn in attack as Blues triumphed 3-2 against the Brewers.

And Bond is now keen to build on that victory as the Shrimpers look to stay up.

“We have had a couple of really good performances and there’s a bit of belief and momentum now which we have to try and keep going,” said Bond.

“There was a huge sense of relief and joy after Monday’s win.

“It was a good display so it was positive but we have two more cup finals now.

“We’ve finally got the result we needed but we need more now.”

The Shrimpers head into Saturday’s game sitting 19th in the League One table, just one point above the drop zone.

But Bond will not be studying the various permutations involving Blues’ relegation rivals.

“I can’t affect what anyone else does and I would drive myself mad worrying about the permutations and results,” said Bond.

“I’m trying not to get worked up about them because I’ll end up with more sleepless nights than I’m already getting.

“Right now I can only think of the Rochdale game and nothing else, not even Sunderland.

“I know fans will look at who is playing who and work out scores and points tallies but all I will do is focus on Saturday.

“We need another committed performance and we need to be concentrated and focused. We’re capable of getting a result there.”