Southend United boss David Webb was trying to boost his squad ahead of the busy Christmas programme by signing Bristol City midfielder Carl Hutchings.

The manager revealed he wanted to bolster the seventh-placed Shrimpers' promotion hopes by capturing Hutchings on a free transfer.

The flexible 26-year-old, who can also play at centre-half or full-back, served under Webb during his time as Brentford chief and has clocked up more than 200 league games for the Bees, Bristol City and Exeter.

"Carl's a player that I know very well and I've made a few enquiries about bringing him to Southend as he will give our squad a few extra options," explained Webb before Christmas.

"I'd like to get Carl signed before the festive period to give us another extra body for the busy Christmas programme. I've offered Carl a contract until the end of the season, the rest is up to him and his club."

Webb said his move for Norwich City frontman Adrian Coote appeared to be dead. "I've left my offer with Norwich, but haven't heard anything," he added. "We obviously haven't matched their valuation and I don't plan to offer an increase."

Getting the bird - Southend United's Scott Forbes (left) and Rob Newman were at Tesco's store at Prince Avenue, Southend, to collect the players' Christmas turkeys from Mother and Father Christmas.


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