Southend United have announced the free signing of former Blackburn Rovers, Shrewsbury Town and Rochdale defender Sam Hart until the end of the season.

The 24-year-old rejoins Southend having spent part of the 2018/19 season on loan at Roots Hall – he featured 18 times for the club.

Once on the books at Liverpool, Hart would join Blackburn Rovers on a permanent basis ahead of the 2017/18 campaign, and went on to make three Championship appearances in his first season.

But he would not progress from there – he was demoted into the development squad and loaned out to Rochdale before the end of the season – he returned for the first-half of the next season, before joinging Southend for the second.

Last season saw him make four appearances on loan at Shrewsbury Town but his deal was cut short by the cancellation of both League One and League Two.

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Now having been released by Blackburn over summer, he rejoins Southend in League Two.

Having suffered relegation last season, Southend now face a second consecutive relegation, sitting at the foot of the Football League after claiming just two points from their opening 11 games in League Two.

Hart then will hope to hit the ground running and help close what stands at a five point gap from safety.

He’s signed until the end of the campaign and it proves to be his best chance to date to really try and kick on in his career.

At 24-years-old he could yet return to the Championship, but he’ll have to show a lot of desire to help Southend stay up this season.