ANDRE Blackman is determined to repay Kevin Bond’s faith after being rescued from the football wilderness by Southend United.

Blackman was without a club for the whole of last season and went 19 months without a first team appearance.

But, after impressing Bond in pre-season, Blackman has been handed a short-term deal with the Shrimpers.

And the left-back - who could start at Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow - is desperate to make the most of the opportunity.

“I’m 100 per cent hungrier now,” said Blackman.

“I had some personal problems and issues that I needed to deal with within myself before I offered myself back to football but I didn’t think it would be the end of my career.

“I wasn’t sure about the level of the opportunity that I might be given but I was willing to go anywhere to showcase what I could do. I’m so determined to make the most of this.”

Blackman has made two substitute appearances for the Shrimpers so far this season but could earn his first start tomorrow if Nathan Ralph fails to recover from a hamstring injury.

Blues will be looking to pick up their first points of the season at Wycombe this weekend.

And Shrimpers boss Bond is pleased to have Blackman on board.

“Andre had a tough upbringing, which was very hard,” said Bond.

“It wasn’t easy for him, like a lot of youngsters these days.

“It was a difficult family situation and then you get yourself into trouble, which is all unnecessary.

“By Andre’s own admission it was all of his own making. It wasn’t anything serious but then clubs don’t want that association and you go from one club to another and he drifted out of the game.

“But I know he can play and the thing about Andre is that he plays with personality and has a personality. Underneath it all I know he’s a really good kid so we gave him an opportunity.”

And Bond has been happy to see the defender earn a deal.

“It was amazing that on the first day of pre-season he stood up with the rest of the squad in the bleep test,” said Bond.

“He’s not missed a day’s training and has added to the group with his personality and presence and up to this point he should be proud of the way he’s conducted himself and performed.

“Now he’s back as a professional footballer. He’s back on the ladder and he has it all in front of him.

“He’s a good player and I’m delighted for him.”