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Powell on final game, Bristol Rovers and pre-season plans

4 May 2018

Southend United face Bristol Rovers in their final game of the 2017/18 season on Saturday at the slightly later time of 5.30pm.

Blues are unbeaten in their last three games, scoring nine and conceding none.

And boss Chris Powell says the season ending comes with a tinge of what could have been such, is the form of his side.

“I kind of wish we had a few more games to be honest,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve enjoyed working with the group, they’ve really pushed themselves, I think they’ve shown a lot of the time how good they can be. Of course we’ve had setbacks like any other team, but we’ve got over them.

“It’s been a getting to know you process as well; for the players, me and the staff and the other way round as well.

“It’s been entertaining at times, it’s been enlightening, at times we’ve been a bit upset and angry, but not often, and the fans have been fantastic from day one. 

“Scunthorpe was really important looking back at it now because we set our own standard. You’ve got to remember before that game we had lost eight in nine.

“Credit should go to the players who have to go out there and play under pressure, with the pressure and deal with it, and they’ve done that.

“For me to be sitting here now with 31 points from 17 and doubling what we had, I’m really pleased. Hopefully we can have 34 by Saturday night.” 

Rovers, like Blues, don’t have much to play for in terms of promotion or relegation, but Powell expects a tough game despite Darrell Clarke’s side not winning in their last six.

“Their progression over the last few years has been very underrated for me,” Powell added.

“They survived last year in League One, have survived again so the stability is good.

“They’re always well-supported and I’m sure there will be plenty of Gasheads in fancy dress.

“They’ve had a number of draws recently and in some ways, it’s job done, they haven’t got involved in anything above them but definitely not down below. 

“A bit similar to us in many respects, but we want to end the season on a positive note. I think that will be good for us momentum-wise and we’ve been good at home.

“We’ve started well at home and it’s up to us to perform.”

And after the full-time whistle on Saturday, attention turns to preparing for next season, and getting pre-season plans set in stone.

“It would be wrong if I confirmed games, but we’ve earmarked teams,” Powell said when asked about friendlies.

“We’ve got a local game first one, that’s just got to be confirmed, but it’s not too far from here, then hopefully we will get away for a week, again yet to be confirmed, because I know a few of our fans will want to go, which will be great.

“I like to have one game when we’re away, whether that’s against another English or Scottish side or a local team, whatever country we’re in.

“And then we’ll have a few games at home, definitely one, if not two. I’m trying to get a game against higher opposition, whether that’s Premier League or Championship, a week before the season starts.”

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