Nile Ranger: Southend United were unaware of striker's charge

Nile Ranger
Nile Ranger joined Southend after a trial, having not played a first-team game since November 2014

Southend United were unaware of Nile Ranger's fraud and money laundering charge when he signed a new deal until 2020 in December, says boss Phil Brown.

Ranger was in court on Wednesday over an alleged scam involving a vulnerable person's bank details.

"It was kept in-house by Nile and his ex-advisors. It's something that goes back a couple of years," said Brown.

"Nile's got to deal with it. He can't expect to just sweep it under the carpet and make it go away."

The 25-year-old former Newcastle and Swindon forward, who joined the Shrimpers in the summer, has scored twice in 11 appearances and impressed enough to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal on 1 December.

But he has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, regarding offences alleged to have been committed in February 2015.

The League One club have said Ranger will continue to be available for selection, and Brown had a 30-minute conversation with the striker on Thursday.

"He's confident he'll train Thursday, train Friday and play a big part in the game on Saturday, if selected," said Brown.

"It's a big decision. I've got to make sure that physically he's capable of causing damage to Oldham Athletic and secondly, mentally, he's onside with everything we're trying to do.

"But on a positive front, we're trying to extend Marc-Antoine Fortune's contract. It runs out on 1 January but we're looking to extend that until the end of the season and possibly beyond."