Southend hope to welcome Johnny Herd back into a depleted defence for the game against MK Dons.

The young full-back missed last weekend's defeat at Yeovil with a hamstring injury and feared he was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

But the injury was not as bad as first feared and although Herd is eager to avoid returning prematurely, he is hopeful of facing Paul Ince's promotion-hopefuls.

His return would be a major boost for the Shrimpers, with new loan signing Sean Morrison serving a one-match ban after being sent-off against the Glovers on his debut.

Fellow loanee Jean-Yves M'voto is still sidelined after undergoing a hip operation, while Osei Sankofa (knee) is also missing from Southend's defence.

If Herd is ruled out, Simon Francis and Adam Barrett will be the only defenders available to boss Steve Tilson, so Jean-Francois Christophe and Anthony Grant will have to play at the back once again.

MK Dons boss Paul Ince will be boosted by the return of three key players.

Captain Dean Lewington will come back in at left-back after a two-game suspension while midfielder Stephen Gleeson and striker Jermaine Easter are available again after international duty with Republic of Ireland Under-21s and Wales respectively.

Winger Martin Devaney is still struggling with the after-effects of a dead leg and will not be involved so Lewis Gobern and Jemal Johnson will battle it out for a place on the right-hand side.

Jude Stirling is back in light training as he looks for fitness after his groin injury and Sean O'Hanlon remains a long-term absentee after knee surgery in pre-season.

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Topics:
#Yeovil Town
#Milton Keynes Dons
#Jermaine Easter
#Osei Sankofa
#Sean Morrison
#League One
#Jemal Johnson
#Jemal Johnson
#Southend United
#Simon Francis
#Anthony Grant
#Stephen Gleeson
#Martin Devaney
#Dean Lewington
#Jean-Francois Christophe
#Johnny Herd
#Lewis Gobern
#Jude Stirling
#Adam Barrett
#Sean O'Hanlon
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