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Michael Kightly has today returned to his first league club Southend United and committed to a three year deal until the end of the 2019/20 season.

Kightly made 13 league appearances for Southend between 2003 and 2005 before dropping into non-league football with Grays from where he was signed by Mick McCarthy for Wolves.

1516 burnley michael kightly 00 300x400He’s since spent almost 11 years in the top two divisions with Wolves, Watford, Stoke, Burnley and Burton but has opted to drop down a division to return home to Essex.

Southend boss Phil Brown said: “I think it’s a massive signing. As far as I’m concerned, the more quality and ex-Premier League experienced players we can bring in to the football club, it emphasises one the statement of intent from us and two where we want to go.

“The players that I’m bringing in know what it’s like to play at a higher level and if they can drag every ounce of effort and quality from the players that we’ve already got at the football club to try and get us there, then it’s job done.”

Brown added: “Make no mistake about it, he’s a quality player. If we can get the ball to him sufficiently, sometimes that’s the difficult part in our division when your winger is standing out on the wing wanting a pass, wanting the ball, wanting to create and score goals, the hard part is getting it to him.

“If we can get sufficient ball to Michael’s feet then we’re going to cause problems for the opposition and that quite simply is what our job has got to be.

“He’s Basildon born and bred but that wasn’t the reason I brought him to the football club. Regardless of what he did before he left Southend, he’s gone on to do better things elsewhere. It’s the stuff that he’s done elsewhere that I’ve brought him back to the football club. It’s a bonus that he is from Basildon, knows the area, has an affinity with the area and hopefully that affinity will show itself and manifest itself into good performances.”

Kightly, of course, was released by the Clarets at the end of the 2016/17 season after almost four seasons at Turf Moor. He was brought in on loan from Stoke at the end of the summer window in 2013 and in the following summer he signed a three year deal.

Last season he was used infrequently with his last three games all coming in the FA Cup following his last league appearance as a substitute at Tottenham. He spent the second half of the season on loan at Burton, scoring four times. It was thought he might return there but has decided on this move back to Southend for whom he made his league debut as a substitute in May 2003 alongside Leon Cort, another player who went on to join the Clarets. He’s expected to make his second league debut for them against Blackburn Rovers on the opening day of the League One season.

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