Dan keen to stay with Shrimpers

DAN Harding is set for an instant return to Southend United.

Derek Davis

DAN Harding is set for an instant return to Southend United.

The Town defender is back at Portman Road after his three-month loan spell at Roots Hall ended on Sunday but he and Shrimpers boss Steve Tilson are hoping he will be rejoining them in time to play Chelsea this weekend.

Ipswich are after a nominal fee for the left-back who is out of contract at the end of the season but manager Jim Magilton is ready to let him leave in time for the dream game at Stamford Bridge. Tilson is keen to complete a deal before Friday lunch-time's deadline for Harding to be registered in time to play in the third-round tie.

Tilson said: “Dan is a good player, a good left-back and we're trying to sort out something with Ipswich.”

Although there was a chance that Reading might come in for him, that trail has gone cold but Harding is already adamant he wants to make a future for himself at Southend.

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He said: “I've absolutely loved my time here at Southend and would like to stay.

“It's out of my hands really what happens now but I would like to return.” Another returning loanee is Liam Trotter, who was involved in the Town squad at Derby on Sunday and, along with Jaime Peters, warmed up on the Pride Park pitch.

There is a chance that Grimsby will make an offer for Trotter but Ipswich have yet to receive an official bid.

Chris Casement is returning from Hamilton Academical and will not be allowed to return to the SPL club, although Magilton is looking for offers for the Ulsterman.

Dean Bowditch has another week at Brentford but a deal may be done allowing him to go back to Griffin Park.