Blues' boss looks ahead to the game against Braintree Town...
Southend United manager Phil Brown says Blues will make the next step up as they prepare to take on Braintree Town at the Amlin Stadium on Saturday 19th July.
Blues have faced Great Wakering Rovers, Billericay Town and a Spurs XI already in pre-season, but will now face Braintree Town, who just missed out on a place in the Conference play-offs last season.
Brown has been impressed with the job Alan Devonshire has done, and believes it’ll be a tough test for his side, especially considering the recent hot weather.
Brown said: “It’s hotting up in terms of the games we’re playing and it is hotting up in terms of the temperature, so we’ve got to take that into consideration.
“We were hoping to give the players 90 minutes because we feel they are ready for it, but if it is similar to Friday, we’ll maybe look at a bit less than the full 90 minutes.
“Braintree did fantastically well last season and were unlucky to not be involved in the play-offs, so they will be looking to kick on again this year under Alan Devonshire.
“We had a good game against them last year, and I’m sure they will want to make a statement once again by coming out on top against us.
“It’s another step up for us in terms of getting ready for the start of the season. It’s all about August 9th and at the moment we’re in good shape.”
Brown will be without Michael Timlin who will miss up to three months of action, while Adam Thompson will also not be involved. Midfielder Ryan Leonard is rated as 50/50 for the game.
He said: “We’re all disappointed that we’ve lost Michael, but he is a very strong character and I’m sure he’ll return better once he’s back in action.
“He’s obviously gutted because he’s been looking sharp and is an important player for us. Adam will also miss out because of the back problem he’s got at the moment.
“Ryan was on the end of a heavy tackle against Billericay and is struggling a bit. He’s got a 50/50 chance of being involved I’d say.”
Trialist Gavin Hoyte is likely to feature again, while former defender Leon Cort was training with Blues on Friday and Brown said he may well feature against Braintree Town.