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Powell: We have to build on last week

28 September 2018

Chris Powell is hoping to build on last weekend’s 1-0 over Fleetwood Town when Southend come up against Wycombe Wanderers for the first time since the 2015 League Two Play-Off Final.

The Chairboys were promoted last season having famously lost out to Blues at Wembley over three years ago.

Powell pointed to Wycombe’s ‘character’ and ‘spirit’ which he insists his side will need to match when they visit Adams Park on Saturday.

Speaking at his press conference on Thursday afternoon, the Blues boss said a similar work ethic to last weekend is required to gain successive wins for the first time this season.

“We have to build on last week,” said Powell. “The pressure was on us all and I understand that, it’s what happens in this game.

“I thought the energy and the character of the players was very good and there was a willingness to do the basics well, which admittedly we hadn’t been doing well enough.

“There were one or two key times in the game [against Fleetwood] where we had to stand strong, and we have to carry that on.

“We go to a place where they are doing their best to settle into League One. They have a bit of character and spirit about themselves and we have to more than match that, and play our own game as well, to do something we haven’t done this season and that’s back-to-back wins.

“I haven’t been able to put out what I originally saw as our strongest team. I don’t want people thinking ‘here he goes again’ but we’ve had nine games and we haven’t got the points return I would have liked, but we go in search of more points on Saturday.

“They were hard fought, and however they came last week, they came. [We got a] clean sheet as well and now we have to do our utmost best to build on that.”

Powell watched the Chairboys almost come from 4-1 down against Norwich in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, which he said demonstrated a lot about what his side will come up against.

“What Wycombe do have is an abundance of character to stay in the game,” Powell added.

“Gareth [Ainsworth] had a good career, he’s a real likeable guy and he’s done terrifically well there.

“They’re very Wimbledon-esque in their mindset and mentality in that spirit drags everyone. They're all in it together and it’s good to see that kind of togetherness hasn’t gone from a football club.

“The way they're run, they have to stick together. That is their mantra.”

Blues will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Mark Oxley and winger Michael Kightly from suspension, as well as Harry Bunn, who missed out last week, and also Dru Yearwood who, for the first time this season after his hamstring injury, could play a part.

“They’ve trained hard while they’ve been out and Dru has been training hard for a number of weeks so they come into my thoughts and into contention now.

“Harry Bunn trained on Thursday, so we’ll have to see how he reacts but he did all that we asked him to so hopefully he will be in contention as well.

“I’ve got some decisions to make all of a sudden now which is good, really good.

“All I ask is for me and our squad to be judged when we’re at our strongest. We’re not there yet, but all of a sudden now I can count on players who have got good experience at this level.”


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