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Interview: Molesley on fixtures

21 August 2020

Southend United boss Mark Molesley has given his reaction to the fixtures which were released on Friday morning.

Harrogate Town and Simon Weaver will be the first test for Blues when Sky Bet League Two kicks off on September 12, and Molesley said the excitement levels have gone up a notch now the schedule is out.

"It’s definitely an exciting time,” he said. "It feels very real now the fixtures are out.

"Geographically it was always going to be a northern league with a lot of travel ahead, so we’re going to have to be good on the road and get used to it.”

Looking ahead to the league opener, Molesley said it will be a difficult test up against a newly promoted team.

"Harrogate came up last season and are a fantastic side.

"Anyone to come out the Conference has to be a good team now, and they did very well last season.

"They’re going to be buoyed and riding that wave so it’s a tough challenge awaiting us, as will every week.

"League Two is a very tough league but it’s a challenge we’re very much looking forward to.”

With fans not expected to return to stadiums until October, Molesley said it will be unusual playing in empty grounds.

But he said that will make the return of spectators that more special when it does happen.

"It would be great to have our fans in the ground too but unfortunately they won’t to start with,” he added.

"It was very much part of the reason I was so excited to manage this club, the great fanbase.

"They’re going to be so important in what we want to achieve here.

"We’re looking forward to getting back out in front of our fans but until then we’ll have to put the hard yards in to make sure they want to come and watch us!”

And with two Essex derbies to look forward to, the first at home on Boxing Day and the reverse fixture on April 20 at the JobServe Community Stadium, getting the fans back will be so important.

"The League have tried to keep the derby games to later on in the season to try and have fans in.

"I think we can all see from the games we’ve watched just how important fans are to football.

"It’s a little bit soulless without them and the Covid period has taught us it’s a game for the fans and they make it.

"Until then we need to make sure we embed what we want to do, our philosophy and our way of playing to try and hit the ground running."

Remind yourself of the 2020/21 fixture list.

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