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Sturrock declares trip a success

30 July 2012

Manager Paul Sturrock declared his sides’ pre-season tour of Madrid a success after Southend United’s 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano B.

Freddy Eastwood’s 17th minute equaliser against the Spaniards cancelled out their earlier opener. 

And as United’s stay in the Spanish capital comes to an end the Blues boss believes it has been a beneficial experience. 

“I am very pleased with the way things have gone,” Sturrock told the official website. 

“We have played a couple of games in very hot conditions and the style of play is a bit different to what we are used to. 

“That has enabled us to work on our shape the past three days and I thought against Rayo Vallecano we looked a lot better with the players starting to get into the pace of the game.

“The facilities have been different class and the weather has been fantastic also.” 

Sunday’s draw followed a 3-1 defeat against Real Madrid C 24 hours earlier. 

In both matches the whole squad was utilised as Sturrock tinkered with his formation and style of play on both occasions. 

“Yesterday against Real Madrid was a wee bit special but Vallecano are in the same league as them and what we would call and League One side back home,” he said. 

“The only disappointing thing was that the game was played on astro turf but we didn’t get any injuries, which is the main thing. 

“We have had a look at a couple of different players upfront and the centre-backs have been changed but we just tried to give everyone 90 minutes of football over the two days.” 

Included in those two sides were trialist midfielder Stephen Brogan and goalkeeper Phil Smith. 

Both played a part in the two matches with fellow hopeful John Spicer forced to watch on from the sidelines with a thigh problem. 

“The two trialists haven’t done themselves any harm,” said the Scotsman. “Phil Smith was a bit unfortunate with the penalty on Saturday but he came back on Sunday and showed his mettle with a couple of really good saves. 

“We hope John Spicer might be able to be involved against Ipswich but it gives me some food for thought.” 

After flying back to the UK on Monday afternoon Southend are back to action straight away as they host Ipswich Town at Roots Hall on Tuesday night. 

And Sturrock will used the match to turn his attentions to his starting eleven come the season kick-off in August. 

He admitted: “It is important that we now start thinking about the starting line-up for the game against Peterborough United in the League Cup. 

“On the plane back home on Monday I will have a real good think about what our best formation and eleven is.”

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