Southend United manager Paul Sturrock says he is "thrilled" and "delighted" that Watford forward Britt Assombalonga will be remaining with the League Two side until the end of the season.
Assombalonga's loan spell with the Shrimpers was due to expire in January but it has been confirmed this morning that he will be remaining with Southend until the end of the season.
The 20-year-old has scored 12 goals in 25 outings so far this season to help the Seasiders into sixth position.
Sturrock told Southend's website: "We’re delighted to be keeping Britt here with us until the end of the season, it’s excellent news.
"We would like to thank Gian Luca (Nani, Watford's technical director) and everyone at Watford for allowing him to stay with us.
"The young lad is really enjoying his football and has bonded well with all the squad so it seemed right for him to remain with us considering how well he has done on the pitch.
"With us looking to get promoted it’s important we can keep players like Britt who can win us matches, so we’re thrilled he’ll be here until May."
Assombalonga’s story is an inspiring one as the forward was only playing for his Sunday league team three years ago but he impressed during one of Watford’s community trust courses and was recommended to the Hornets Academy staff.
He was handed a scholarship and subsequently his first professional contract, which was extended until 2013 in March.
Last season Assombalonga excelled during his two loan spells – scoring 11 goals in 15 appearances at Ryman Premier side Wealdstone and five goals in as many games at Braintree Town in the Conference.
His loan spell at Braintree was extended by another month but the Hornets recalled the youngster and he went on to make two starts and two substitute appearances.
With the influx of new signings this summer, Watford decided to loan out the forward.