Southend United continued their pre-season with a hard fought 1-1 draw against Ebbsfleet United in torrential conditions at Stonebridge Road yesterday.
After the game, the Blues gaffer gave us his thoughts on the performance, the fitness of his players as well as updates on a couple of injuries.
On the Draw against Ebbsfleet…
As I’ve said many, many times it’s a means to an end. Everyone looks at results, ok it’s nice not to get beat I suppose. Both teams had opportunities, we could have won the game comfortably, they could have nicked it, whichever way you want to look at it, but I don’t want to read into that too much.
If anything we need to sharpen up in front of goal because when them chances come along, if you take them in league games then, with the experience that we’ve got in this team, you can actually coast through a game and win them comfortably instead of extending yourselves for 90-minutes trying to win a game.
These are all key factors to hopefully how the season pans out but we have to sharpen up a little bit in front of goal. That's the only criticism I have of the team.
There’s a lot of league experience here in the opposition today and it was a step up in terms of the challenge from the games that we’ve played so far.
They’re having a go, Ebbsfleet. I’m more than impressed by the set up here. They’re going to have a go and see if they can get promoted again and if you get back-to-back promotions before you know it you’re playing league football.
They’ve got a lot of league experience and that for me was the key to us getting something from the game.
On his players’ fitness…
It’s a good day at the office to be brutally honest because we’ve had our trials and tribulations with regards to Lenny and we got 90-minutes out of Lenny today which is moving in the right direction.
We got 90-minutes out of Anton Ferdinand which, after the week he’s had, has been an absolute godsend that we’ve managed to do that. Maybe the conditions helped, if it had been a scorcher he would probably have to come off after 60-70 minutes. The downpour maybe helped us.
We’ve seen a young French trialist come off the bench and score a goal, and you’ve probably witnessed what I’ve witnessed. Somebody that works tirelessly and tries to put defenders under pressure, and he consequently got his rewards because of that.
Another 90-minutes for Mark Oxley, hopefully everybody else unscathed and hopefully it’s another step nearer to getting the lads who are injured fit as well.
On Stephen McLaughlin and Michael Turner’s injuries…
Stephen McLaughlin landed awkwardly on his foot at the training ground the other day and he just felt a sharp pain.
It’s settled down unbelievably. That was on Thursday and it's settled down unbelievably in 48-hours so I fully believe he’ll be taking part in the Brighton game or the Cambridge game, if not both.
Michael Turner again fell awkwardly on Tuesday night against Bishop’s Stortford. For a big man at six-foot-three he just felt as if his hamstring had tightened up a wee bit and I’m not going to risk anybody, not in games like today.
The training schedule that I’m putting them through is testing them full stop anyway, so fingers crossed the two players you’ve mentioned there will be available to play in one of the games, if not both of them, and then the opportunity to kick start the season on the 5th.