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Brown: "It’s one of the biggest games of the season"

8 December 2017

Phil Brown says Saturday’s game away at Bristol Rovers is a ‘must win’ for his Southend side.

Blues face a tough December schedule with four of the top six to come following the game at the Memorial Stadium this weekend.

And Brown is aware of the importance a win this weekend ahead of a tricky set of games coming up.

“It’s one of the biggest games of the season, a must win game for it to kick-start our season,” said Brown.

“I know I said more or less the same last week ahead of the Oldham game and we got the response that was required, but I was disappointed on Wednesday that the squad, the players on the periphery, the ones knocking on my door saying they should be playing; I was disappointed in the performances of some of them.

“Having said that, put our strongest XI out against anyone in this division and we will give them a game.”

On the road, Blues have won twice all season whereas at Roots Hall they are unbeaten.

And Brown is confident that the away struggles will soon turn around.

“It’s only a matter of time before that turns as far as I’m concerned,” he added.

“We had a horrendous start to last season with our away form, horrendous afternoons at places like Northampton, Scunthorpe, Rochdale, and we were on the end of drubbings, bad performances and were waiting for our big players to come out the treatment room.

“I think Michael Turner is going to be a big player for us this year. He is a colossus in defence and on the field of play, but we have to man-manage him.

“He will be a key figure in our defence in keeping clean sheets and is one of the main reasons I’m confident going to Bristol Rovers, regardless of our away form.

“I know we’re in promotion form at Roots Hall with 20 points from 10 games, but away from home we have to arrest that situation which starts on Saturday, as simple as that.”

Rovers themselves are in a sticky patch, however they triumphed 2-1 against Rotherham last time out.

“We’re going into a game where I want all hands to the pump. It’s one of the biggest games of the season for me and it was a turning point for us last year with a 2-0 defeat, and it can be a turning point for us this year with a victory.

“It’s a difficult place to go to, it always is. Darrell [Clarke] has got his team organised, we know what system they play and roughly what personnel he will be playing.

“There will be seven-and-a-half, probably eight thousand crowd and they always get behind their team. It’s a hostile atmosphere, but they haven’t been having a good time of it of late. They’ve had one win in their last seven games.

“As far as I’m concerned as a Manager, I’m coming up against one of the up and coming talents in the English game who gets his teams organised and playing good football.”

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