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Harris frustrated by poor weather

23 January 2013

Striker admits weather hasn't helped him in his bid to return to full fitness

Neil Harris admits the adverse weather conditions have been frustrating for him as he looks to get back to full fitness after injury.

Harris has made two substitute appearances so far since his return, albeit for a couple of minutes at the end against Exeter and Brentford, but he says the postponement of both the game at home to Plymouth and the Essex Senior Cup tie against Waltham Abbey has been disappointing.

The experienced striker said: “For me personally, and some of the other lads on the fringes of the first team at the moment it’s not ideal because we need to be playing.

“Having the game against Plymouth called off was good in some respects because we’ve got a number of injuries at the moment who probably wouldn’t have been fit for Saturday.

“The Essex Senior Cup tie would have been ideal because it gives me and a few of the other lads who haven’t been playing a chance to get some minutes under our belts.

“You’re up against lower league opposition and it’s a cup game so it’s a good way of stepping up your fitness, or in some cases, maintaining that fitness.

“One positive is that we’ve still been able to train thanks to the facilities at the David Beckham Centre and Play Football. We’re extremely grateful that we have been able to train this week and the players know how lucky we are – not too many League 2 clubs are able to have them sort of facilities.”

Speaking of cup competitions, Neil was massively impressed by the tremendous achievements of fellow League 2 side Bradford City – who booked their place in the Capital One Cup final with a 4-3 aggregate win over Aston Villa.

Blues also have the chance to visit Wembley this season but face a tricky two-legged tie against League 1 side Leyton Orient. While Neil believes Blues must return to winning ways in League 2 as soon as possible, he believes a trip to Wembley and promotion can go hand-in-hand.

“It was absolutely fantastic (to see Bradford beat Villa),” he said. “Congratulations to them. You can’t underestimate the achievement whatsoever.

“I’ve heard people say that no-one takes it seriously. Try telling that to Villa’s 40,000 fans and the full first-team squad that was out there last night. People want to get to these finals. I didn’t think it was possible for them to do it, so it keeps the dream alive for other lower league clubs.

“We’re desperate to get to Wembley ourselves but we know it’s going to be a tough test against Leyton Orient. There’s a bit of rivalry there so it should be for an excellent cup-tie. Early on in the competition, players and clubs may not take it seriously, but it’s a chance to get to Wembley and you don’t get many opportunities like that.

“I think the two (the League and Johnstone’s Paint) can go hand-in-hand for the rest of the season. We need to get back to winning ways but there’s no doubt it’s going to be an extremely tough game on Saturday against Chesterfield.”

An exclusive interview with Neil will be available on Blues Player.

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