Manager Paul Sturrock admitted that trialist midfielder John Spicer had ‘staked a claim’ in is bid to win a contract at Roots Hall.Spicer was on target in Southend United’s 2-1 pre-season defeat against Millwall at Roots Hall on Tuesday night.
And boss Sturrock was hopeful of sorting out a permanent deal for the former Burnley player who has been on trial for three weeks.
“I thought John Spicer had a very solid game,” Sturrock told the official website after the match.
“He’s only 28 and it showed he has a lack of fitness at this moment in time but he scored a good goal and knew when to pass it and hold onto it. I was very impressed with him.
“John's staked a claim for a contract today and we will have to try and sort things out.
“Michael Timlin is rapidly on the comeback trail and I think Kane Ferdinand is showing much more authority on the pitch.
“We are also trying to convert Leonard to more of a central midfielder so we have other options also.”
Meanwhile, Sturrock praised his sides’ second half display against the Championship side after trailing 2-0 at half-time.
Goals from Chris Taylor and Dany N’Guessan gave the Lions a first half lead.
But after Spicer pulled a goal back for the Blue whilst Neil Harris had an effort chalked off for offside two minutes from time.
“I think we have played too many footballing teams,” said the Scot on Blues pre-season so far.
“We are a League Two team and we have played Real Madrid C, Rayo Vallecano, Ipswich Town, Millwall and West Ham who all have the same idea of passing the ball.
“The problem with that is you get sucked into playing a very alien way compared to what we will face in League Two.
“In the second half we played with a lot more tempo and were in their faces a lot more and you could see the difference to the first half.
“In the end I think we can feel unlucky to not have nipped a draw.”
Along with Spicer the Southend boss also had a look at experienced goalkeeper Tony Warner.
The former Liverpool shot stopped played 90 minutes but with just seven days left until the start of the season Sturrock admitted his options between the sticks remain a constant source of frustration.
“We’re looking around to see what the best we can take in is,” he said.
“I thought Tony Warner was pretty competent tonight apart from his kicking which I put down to lack of matches. Apart from that I thought he did OK but we are still in the hunt.
“I’m not happy that with seven days to go we haven’t got it sorted but a lot of the ones we’ve targeted have gone elsewhere or have been too expensive.
“I am trying to find an experience goalkeeper who has done it all before and has the t-shirt.”
Meanwhile, Sturrock confirmed that centre-back Ryan Cresswell had a minor hamstring tweak that led to the former Rotherham United defenders substitution after 35 minutes.