Chris Powell was delighted to see his Blues side come through what he described as a “real testing week” with three wins and three clean sheets after a 2-0 win away at Bradford.
Second-half goals from John White and Marc-Antoine Fortune secured the three points which saw Southend leap-frog the Bantams and climb into the top 10 with one game remaining.
And after the win at the Northern Commercials Stadium, Powell gave us his thoughts on the win, his captain John White and his goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
On the Bradford victory…
I’m really pleased for them [the players] because it’s been a real testing week. We’ve had three games in seven days, the extra one at Oldham away, two long journeys and we’ve come away with nine points and three clean sheets.
Today was a real test of resolve and energy on a real pudding of a pitch and we knew how Bradford would play: quite uncompromising, quite direct, and we dealt with that with a make-shift defence when you look at it. I’m really proud of them.
I said to them at half-time, you’re going to have to fight, you’re really going to have to dig in and show a lot of character but if we just have our moments, if we can just be brave enough to get it down we’ll get chances and we certainly did, and we took them.
On John White and his goal…
I really like Whitey as a character: he’s not loud, he’s very understated but he’s a leader in the way he plays. He’s a steady player and I think the lads look up to him in a different way and I wanted him to lead the team.
He put his body on the line – you should see his shins now, they’re in pieces – but he soldiered on and then just in our moment when Macca [Stephen McLaughlin] puts it back in, a real towering header. That just caps off a good performance, not only for John but for the team.
On Mark Oxley and his double save…
I had to say when I addressed the players at the end, I had to start with him. I couldn’t start with, great 2-0, I had to start with him and I don’t even think he realised the second save.
I think he just dived, his eyes were shut, and he made himself big. It’s a testament to Lee Harrison the work he does with Mark and Nathan Bishop and the younger keepers, but that’s why you win games because of his concentration levels.
He’s a top keeper and I really hope we can resolve everything with the contract because you can build a team around a keeper like him.