A WINDING-UP petition issued against Southend United in the High Court has been adjourned for four weeks.

Legal firm Stewarts Law LLP filed the petition in February over unpaid bills, after representing the club in previous court disputes with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The club’s chairman Ron Martin asked for the petition to be adjourned for four weeks to allow its sale to a consortium to be completed, which would allow the money to be paid.

In a two-minute hearing on Wednesday, Insolvency and Companies Court Judge Catherine Burton adjourned the case until May 15.

Barristers representing Stewarts and two of the club’s creditors told the judge they agreed to the adjournment.

Australian businessman Justin Rees, who leads the consortium, was also at the hearing.

In an earlier hearing on Monday, Judge Burton approved a validation order allowing the club to continue trading.

She said that while funding was available, creditors could not be paid due to the club’s bank account being frozen after the issuing of the petition.

She added that it is hoped the sale of the club will be “concluded during the course of May” and that it “must continue to trade”.

The Shrimpers were relegated from the English Football League for the first time in 101 years in 2021 and has been issued with a number of winding-up petitions over unpaid tax in recent years by HMRC.

It avoided being wound up in the High Court in October last year after paying off a £275,000 debt, following the agreement to sell the club to the consortium.