Southend United striker Neil Tolson has revealed he is looking forward to a medication-free footballing future.

The 27-year-old hitman made his long-awaited comeback for Blues' reserves last week, playing 45 minutes and setting up a goal in a 2-1 defeat at Gillingham.

It was the former York City forward's first competitive action for seven months, following an operation on his pelvic bone.

But more importantly Tolson said he was able to enjoy playing without the aid of pain-killing drugs.

"The Gillingham match was the first time I have been able to play without taking any pills for nearly three-years," said the targetman.

"I've not been able to get fully fit for the last few years now, despite having operations to try and solve my problems.

"And when I have been able to play I have had to keep on swallowing anti-inflammatory tablets to ease my pain and get me through games.

"But I didn't want to keep on taking these pills as they can affect the lining of your stomach. So it was a massive relief to be able to play against Gillingham without a tablet."

Tolson was hoping to step up his fitness with another second-string run out against Bristol Rovers at Roots Hall yesterday (Wednesday), kick-off scheduled for 2pm.

And the front-runner said he still hadn't given up the possibility of winning a new Roots Hall contract and proving himself to the people of Southend.

"I've never been fully fit since I joined Blues," admitted Tolson, whose present deal expires during the summer.

"I scored ten league goals last season, without being right, and I'm always confident in my ability to find the net.

"I would just like to be given the chance to have an injury-free run with Southend next term and show the fans at Roots Hall what I can really do."

Back in action - Neil Tolson.

By Bernie Friend

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