Manager hopes Blues can take attitude in training into the game against Bradford
New boss Phil Brown goes into tomorrow’s game at Bradford City full of confidence after being impressed by the quality on show in training since his arrival.
Brown, who was appointed as the new Blues boss on Monday, after Paul Sturrock’s departure 24 hours before, says what he has seen so far has been very pleasing, though he admits it must now be taken into a game situation.
He said: “The early signs are very good. When a new manager comes into a football club, everyone seems to perk up. Those that have been playing need to impress again and those that haven’t have their chance again.
“I’ve told the players that everyone has a clean slate. The attitude has been first class, as has the response from the players. The ability levels of the majority of the players have really surprised me, a lot of them that could quite easily play at a higher level.
“It’s not about training, it’s about proper football. When the players cross that white line, they have to express themselves and that has to start on Friday against Bradford.”
Brown is looking forward to coming up against an old friend on Friday when Blues travel up to Valley Parade for the League 2 encounter.
He added: “I’m very appreciated of Phil for bringing me back from the doldrums after being under the umbrella with Sam Allardyce.
“Phil brought me in as a coach at Hull City, he then parted company with the club and I had a successful spell there afterwards.
“I know Phil well. He was a combative player and hardworking. I know he has taken that attitude into his management style and there’ll certainly be that kind of attitude coming from the home dressing room.
“I don’t like players that leave things in the changing rooms and have regrets. We’ve got players who have things to prove, whether that’s contracts, Wembley, play-offs and possibly League 1 football as well.
“I thought Bradford, at the start of the season, were very similar to Southend, with their ambitions of getting automatic promotion. There’s nothing more important than league form and consistency. If you are consistent enough, then you get automatic promotion. Both teams will be firmly fixed on winning the game of football to get back in the play-offs.”
With the well document injury problems throughout the campaign, Phil is hoping to see an empty treatment room before too long.
He added: “Chris Barker won’t make it this weekend. Hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later. We’ve got a behind closed doors game on Tuesday that hopefully one or two will be playing in and get themselves a run out.
“Neil Harris is like a Dean Windass to me in that he gets in the right areas at the right time. Unfortunately Neil will be out for the rest of the season. He’ll be back for pre-season and hopefully be preparing for 46 games next year.
“Mark Phillips trained this morning. The two games this weekend will be a bit too soon for Mark, he may play a part on Tuesday though.
“I’ve named the team. I think the earlier a player knows he’s in the team, the easier it is. It gives the players a chance to relax. The game against Bradford will be a test and the substitutes are going to be an important part in the game. If the subs don’t need to be used then that means we’ve done well and we win the game comfortably. If that happens, I’ll be very surprised.
“It’s a hectic weekend for everybody,” Phil concluded. “I’m looking forward to it and seeing over the two encounters who’s physically and mentally up for the challenge.”