Southend United’s youth team coach, Danny Heath, is looking for a positive response from his squad when they welcome Aveley to Roots Hall in The FA Youth Cup Third Round Qualifying this evening (7:30pm kick-off).
Blues booked their place at this stage with a 2-0 win over Barking a fortnight ago, but a three-match winning run in all competitions was ended at the weekend when the teenage Shrimpers lost 2-1 in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup at Northampton.
Heath was disappointed with Saturday’s reverse, but he believes this match offers his team a chance to bounce back quickly: "I was frustrated with the performance at Northampton," he said. "There were some really good bits, at times, and at other times the quality of the passing was sloppy.
"The next game has come quickly and, with it being another cup game, they have a chance to show they have learnt from the Northampton match because you only get one opportunity to get into the next round."
With a place in the First Round Proper at stake, Heath considers that consistency will be crucial if Southend are to emerge victorious against the Millers, who they will be meeting in the competition for the first time.
"We’re looking for the same level of performance as we had in the second half of Saturday’s game, but we’ve got to produce that in both halves. Consistency is going to be important,” he declared.
"That’s why players go on to have careers in the game, because they are consistent with their performances. It’s something we’ve had in recent games, and we got three results that we deserved. Hopefully we can get back on track because it’s going to be a tough game.
"Our focus had been on Northampton up until Saturday because we knew that would also be a tough game. Whilst us as staff are looking for the boys to perform to the best of their ability as individuals and as a team, if we can have that as well as the win, it’s an added bonus.
"For the boys, regardless of how they play on the day, they just want to get into the next round because they’ve got that winning mentality and togetherness as a group," he added.
Admission to tonight’s match is £5 for adults and £1 concessions, with cash payments only via the MidexPRO East Stand green and black turnstiles. You can read more from Danny Heath in the official matchday programme, available from the tunnel between the turnstiles and the seats for a minimum of a £1 donation to the club’s Academy.