Southend United have terminated the contract of striker Nile Ranger ahead of Saturday’s Sixfields date with the Cobblers.
The former Newcastle United man has endured a troubled time off the pitch during his time at Roots Hall, and the board have finally decided enough is enough.
Ranger featured as a second-half substitute in their 2-0 New Year’s Day defeat at AFC Wimbledon, and has made 21 appearances in all this season, scoring two goals.
But the 26-year-old has now been told his Southend career is over.
A club statement issued on Thursday lunchtime read: “Following a meeting yesterday with Nile Ranger, the club has today terminated the player’s contract in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
“This decision was taken following reoccurring disciplinary issues, including timekeeping, which undermine both the unity of the group and the management.
“In many ways it is regrettable having worked closely with Nile over the past 18 months.
“However, the interests of the club are paramount and the board will never allow those objectives to be undermined.”
Ranger’s dismissal has added to the list of problems for beleagured boss Phil Brown, who revealed today he will also be without key midfielder Josh Wright for the trip to Sixfields, as well as central defender Anton Ferdinand.
Wright, a September loan signing from Gillingham, suffered a torn hamstring in the Shrimpers 2-1 loss at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday and is now out of action for a month.
Former West Ham United man Ferdinand is also set to miss out on a Sixfields run-out after suffering a strain in the same game, while influential midfieler Michael Timlin and defender John White are rated as ‘50/50’.
The injury to Wright is a blow to under pressure Southend boss Phil Brown, as he has been one of the Essex side’s best performers in a difficult season, that has seen them lose six of their past seven games.
“It’s not great news on Josh Wright, bearing in mind I was 10 seconds away from taking the lad off the pitch and replacing him with Jermaine McGlashan, which eventually happened obviously,” said the United boss.
“Josh has torn his hamstring with a grade two tear and he will probably be on the sidelines for about a month. With a bit of luck that’s all it will be.”
On Ferdinand, Brown added: “The scan on Anton has revealed wear and tear more than anything else.
“It’s a mechanical problem as opposed to a pulled muscle and hopefully with rest and recuperation Anton will be back in 10 days.”
The Cobblers have no fresh injury concerns, but are still expected to be without central defenders Leon Barnett and Aaron Pierre, while striker Alex Revell and right-back Aaron Pierre are also doubts.
New signing Hildeberto Pereira is expected to be involved at some stage, although it’s uncertain as to whether he will start, or come off the bench at some point.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed by Portsmouth that former Cobblers midfielder Danny Rosse broke his leg in his side’s 3-1 win over Town last Saturday.
Rose suffered the injury contesting a drop ball with his former Cobblers team-mate John-Joe O’Toole.