But both contractors could end up winners because the Enquirer understands neither is keen to take on the entire scheme which could be split into two jobs.
Work will involve construction of a new 14,000 seater stadium at Fossetts Farm.
The job is being part-funded by Sainsbury’s who will build a new supermarket on the site of the club’s current ground at Roots Hall.
One industry source familiar with the project said: “Logic and common sense dictates that it should all be one job. But it doesn’t look like it will turn out that way.”
The Enquirer understands that Sainsbury’s want to work with Bowmer & Kirkland on their new store but the contractor is not keen on the stadium job.
McLaren is in the frame for the stadium which Southend chairman Ron Martin is keen to get built for the keenest price possible.
The source said: “I’d keep an eye on this one because it’s got all the elements of being a tricky job.”
Martin told the BBC last week that “we are 90% through the processes we have to do,” in terms of starting the stadium which has faced a series of setbacks and delays.
He said: “We’ve been out to tender and have those tenders back from four contractors.
“We’ve selected two. We’re now conducting interviews with those two and hope to be through that process within the next three to four weeks.
“I don’t want to put a date on it but we’re very advanced. We’ve had a lot of properties to buy in and around Roots Hall and Fossetts Farm. Everything is at a very advanced stage.
“We’re building not just a Sainsbury’s store and a stadium but 30 flats for the local authorities.”