JEAN-PAUL Kalala has returned to France to continue his rehabilitation from a long term knee injury after briefly training again with Southend United.

The midfielder picked up the problem while playing for Blues at Morecambe last February and was released by manager Paul Sturrock at the end of last season.

But, with Southend still in search of midfielders, he returned to Roots Hall to train last week.

However, the 30-year-old is not yet fit enough to resume playing, according to a source close to the club.

“JP came over to be assessed but he’s still short of the fitness needed to be playing,” said the source.

“He has gone back home to France to continue on his rehabilitation and to get his fitness back.

“He’s a free agent though so can be signed at any time, even after when the transfer window closes.”

Kalala, who came to Blues after being released by Bristol Rovers, made 30 appearances for the club last season and scored one goal.