SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin has vowed to strengthen the Shrimpers squad during the January transfer window.

Blues have lost star midfielder Ryan Leonard to Sheffield United after also opting to release striker Nile Ranger.

But Martin has confirmed the club want to replace both players and that a move for a midfielder on loan with a view to a permanent transfer has already been made.

“We wish to replace both Ryan and Nile,” said Martin.

“We are always scouting for players throughout the season and therefore have a plethora of information to help the club’s search.

“There’s one realistic target we’ve identified at the moment for a specific midfielder and I’m waiting on a phone call where that’s concerned.”

The Shrimpers - who host Fleetwood Town at Roots Hall on Saturday - have struggled in recent weeks, suffering seven defeats in their last eight games.

And Martin will be holding a number of meetings with his staff today as Blues bid to get back on track.

“I plan to have meetings with all members of the footballing staff on Wednesday,” said Martin.

“I will be making sure the grass doesn’t grow under our feet, a little like the pitch at present!

“Our quest to get back to winning ways is urgent and I am committed to achieving that, whatever it takes.

“However it has to be emphasised that although we have lost Ryan the club benefit from a strong squad of players with both a mix of experience and youth.

“We have been affected by both long and short term injuries but nevertheless the quality in this squad is very capable.

“I have great faith in these players’ ability, both their skills and mentality, to get back to winning ways and it would be great to do that on Saturday.”

And Martin is also keen to lift the spirits of Blues’ supporters.

“Our supporters have been fantastic but we all understand their current frustration,” said the chairman.

“We all need to work even harder to please them.”

Blues are currently 17th in the League One table, four points above the relegation zone.