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Chris Powell's Bristol Rovers reaction

6 May 2018

Blues boss Chris Powell was keen to look forward to next season after ending the 2017/18 League One campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Bristol Rovers.

Despite Rovers having to play the entire second-half with 10 men after Ollie Clarke’s dismissal, Southend were unable to break down a stubborn Bristol back line to record a fourth straight win. 

After the match, Powell briefly discussed the draw with Rovers before reflecting on his time so far at Blues as well as discussing Southend’s Player of the Season, Mark Oxley. 

On the Bristol stalemate…

It was typical end-of-season where there’s not anything on it apart from pride. We obviously wanted to get a win because that would have been four in a row, which would have been great.  

Bonus was a clean sheet but we lost a couple of players through injury which wasn’t great. I didn’t want us to lose the game, that’s for certain, and obviously we probed as much as we could and we had situations where we could have been better. 

The keeper made some saves, we hit the bar, they hit the post and they were down to 10 men, so it was a bit of a rear-guard action from them. In some ways, it’s good to have that.  

We’ve had a solid second half [of the season], the last 18 games were really good for me and the squad, and we now have to rest up, recuperate and have a well-earned rest before we get back to work at the end of June.

On finishing in the top 10… 

Top 10 from being fifth from bottom, I’ve got to be very pleased with that and I think everyone should that is connected to the club. All the players that played their part, whether it was from the start or off the bench, but I’ve got the be very pleased and our supporters should be as well. 

Sometimes I think other people recognise it more than me. I try and stay as level headed as I can because I know how quickly football can change and what it can do to you if you think you’ve cracked it. 

We’ve won half our games, got 10 clean sheets, five draws and four losses and those losses, a couple of them we could have got something from. Walsall, Plymouth we can write those ones off, but the one that really got to me was Oxford.

I suppose, in some ways, it was good to happen then because we haven’t lost since then and it kind of galvanised us as a group and we haven’t conceded a goal since then. 

On Player of the Season, Mark Oxley…

It’s funny with goalkeepers, I was a left-back many years ago so I take pride as a defender to have clean sheets and as a manager you do because then you know you’ve got at least a chance of a point, if not all three. 

I think Mark knew from an early stage that I wanted him to get clean sheets. He didn’t have too many beforehand and I said to him, and I kept saying to the defenders and the team, that we’ve got to get those. We’ve got to start getting those clean sheets because it will get us up the table. 

He’s a big guy so he makes the goal look small, but he’s made some outstanding saves and the ones I like are the ones at the end of the game – MK Dons were 4-0 up and he makes a double save; that shows concentration, that shows that he’s still in the game. 

Mark is a keeper that I like and I understand the position that he’s in. [It’s] a little bit out of our hands, but I’m hopeful that he’ll be our keeper next year. He’s proved his worth for me, but if you’re Player of the Year you’ve proved it over the course of a season.

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