Former Southend United trainee Ijah Anderson was interested in making a Roots Hall return, Blues boss Steve Wignall revealed today.

The 27-year-old left-back spent the remainder of last season helping Bristol Rovers fight off relegation to the Conference League, after being released by Second Division Brentford.

But the defender, who began his career at Premiership Spurs, opted to stay at the Memorial Stadium instead of re-joining the Seasiders.

"Ijah's interest in signing for us was pushed forward by another party, but he decided to join Bristol Rovers permanently in the end," explained Wignall.

"I never got the chance to speak to him, although I would have liked too, and I was quite surprised he decided to move down there.

"He still lives in London and I would have thought coming back to Southend would have been a lot easier for him on a day-to-day basis.

"But the search continues. A new left-back is obviously a priority for us as we have let Damon Searle go and I am hoping to speak to an agent tomorrow about another possible target."

Wignall would not identify the player, but he is thought to be at a First Division club.

The Shrimpers chief expects to talk to a goalkeeper, winger and a striker during the next couple of days, as well as the unnamed midfielder he met at Roots Hall for talks last week.

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Published Monday, May 19, 2003

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