SOUTHEND United manager Chris Powell feels John White will be a big miss to Blues during his injury lay-off.

White will spend the next six weeks on the sidelines after suffering an ankle ligament injury against Peterborough United last weekend.

And Powell is disappointed to see the centre-back on the sidelines.

“John is a key player for us moving forward,” said Powell.

“He’s very level headed, he’s a good trainer and he’s made a real impression on me since I’ve been here.

“He’s someone we will miss because he makes good decisions regularly.

“As a manager, you want defenders you trust and they’re the ones who clean up the mess and snuff out the danger from the opposition’s forwards.

“John’s definitely going to be a big miss but hopefully he’s a quick healer and we will get him back out there sooner rather than later.”

White was stretchered off at the start of the second half at Peterborough and was replaced at the heart of the back four by Anton Ferdinand.

And Powell was also full of praise for the way Ferdinand performed in the 1-0 win against Posh.

“Anton came on at Peterborough and I thought he did particularly well alongside Michael Turner,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“They will just have to use their experience and know how now with regards to the teams we face.”

Harry Kyprianou is another option for Powell in defence this weekend, but Ferdinand seems certain to start for the first time since the arrival of the new manager.

In Ferdinand’s absence, left-back Ben Coker has skippered the Shrimpers.

But Powell would not reveal who would be wearing the armband against the Latics.

“You will see at quarter to two on Saturday what I decide to do,” he said.

However, White - who had been fearing a far longer injury lay-off - is not the only Shrimpers defender to be out of action this weekend as centre-back Rob Kiernan still remains sidelined.

Kiernan, who spent four years with Wigan at the start of his career, joined the Shrimpers in the summer but has not featured since August and has since had operations on both of his knees in a bid to regain full fitness.