Blues boss Chris Powell was pleased with the progress his side are making in pre-season as they held Championship side Leeds United to a 1-1 draw at Roots Hall.
In Southend’s first and only home pre-season game, Harry Lennon gave Blues the lead on his first appearance at Roots Hall in a Blues shirt before Luke Ayling equalised for the visitors.
And after the game, Powell gave us his thoughts on the draw, Lennon and the changes he’s made around Roots Hall.
On the Leeds draw…
It was a good work out. I’m really pleased with our play and our application today. Of course, we’re just under two weeks away but we’re building slowly but surely.
I made sure that everyone played a part today, even if it was just for the final 10 minutes. It’s a nice game for everyone; a big side like Leeds coming down here, it’s good for us.
I thought Leeds started brightly, we settled into it and then we started to get going and scored a good goal. The importance of set plays; we scored a few last year and they’ll be important this year as well.
Poor goal with regards to how we conceded it as I thought there were too many mistakes by us that we could have stopped it happening, but they’ve got quality. I’m really pleased that we managed to perform well in front of our own fans.
On Harry Lennon and the other Blues new boys…
There would have been a bit of nerves, it was his first game and even though it’s a pre-season friendly, you want to show everyone what you’re about and I felt he acquitted himself really well. He defended his box well alongside John White, JD [Jason Demetriou] and Ben Coker and I thought those four with Mark Oxley defended resolutely and had a good line.
I’m pleased for Harry as I am pleased for Tom Hopper and Luke Hyam, the only blot really was Tim [Timothee Dieng]. He has been carrying a knock but he’s trained the last two days but sometimes the stresses of a full game are slightly different to training so we just have to be slightly careful that we don’t set him back.
Luke Hyam I thought came on and acquitted himself really well, and actually grew into the game. [The Dieng injury] that’s the only blot on the copybook really with Tim having to come off so early.
On the improvements to Roots Hall…
We trained on it yesterday [the pitch] as we thought it was important for the players to train on the new pitch to see how it played because we could have gone on it today and it could have surprised us a bit. We only trained for an hour yesterday, walked through our team shape in and out of possession, we did some set plays and we just had a bit of a game on it.
I surprised them as well as they didn’t know about the changes that we’d made here with the dressing room and the tunnel area. That was nice and it was good for them, it gave them a bit of a spring in their step.
I know it’s only a dressing room, but it’s our dressing room and it means a lot. That’s our room, that’s where we prepare, that’s where the team comes out, that’s where the squad gets together so it was important for us to just come here yesterday and familiarise ourselves again with the place because we know we’re going to be here at least 23 times, 24 with Brentford, and hopefully a few more after that.