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Blues Head Coach on facing top of the table on Saturday...

8 April 2022

Southend United Head Coach Kevin Maher is not backing down from the challenge of facing National League top side Stockport County in front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday.

Maher urges his side to play on the front foot in every game, and the clash at Edgeley Park will be no different, according to the Blues boss.

"We’ll always try and win every game we play but we have the utmost respect for opponents,” said the 45-year-old.

"Stockport are top of the league for a reason and they’re the best team in the league.

"They’ve shown that consistently all season and we know how tough it will be.

"It’s one we’ll be prepared for, and we’ve got to turn up and play."

Blues started 2022 in blistering fashion, embarking on a 13-match unbeaten run, but now Maher’s side have lost four of their last five outings.

Blues’ Head Coach is happy with the job that has been done to ensure safety, yet still wants his side to finish the season strongly.

"As professional footballers you want to win everything you play," said Maher.

"Whether that’s a small sided game in training you want to win and it’s that competitive edge you have to drive you on.

"I’m not looking any further ahead than Stockport.

"If you said to us three or four months ago that we’d be comfortably safe by mid-March people would have snapped your hands off.

"I’m absolutely delighted with everyone associated at the club, but we won’t stop and we want to keep on pushing."

On facing the league leaders, Maher feels it’ll be a good test for his side.

Dave Challinor’s outfit will be looking to earn their ninth successive league win against Southend, and Maher is keen to see how his side will respond to the threat that the Hatters pose.

"They’re a yardstick for everyone in this league," he said.

"I think any manager would say the same at this level at the minute.

"It will be a good test and one the players will hopefully respond to and stand up to.

"It’s on TV as well so it’s a good occasion to go and show how good you are.

"We’ll have an idea of how we want to go about things and if we can impose on the game at the right moments then let’s see what happens."

Blues’ dip in form has coincided with injury issues in the squad.

Harry Cardwell and Ollie Kensdale have both been side lined, with a hamstring issue and a thigh problem respectively.

Maher gave updates on the duo’s fitness.

"We’ll have a look at him [Kensdale] today and tomorrow and see where he’s at.

"Ollie has been out for a short period of time but if he comes through training, we’ll see how he is.

"He's [Cardwell] been out for a period of time and hamstrings are difficult ones.

"The next couple of days will tell us a lot.

"He had an injection last week to try and speed things up but he’s had to have time to let that settle."

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