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1 February 2022

Southend United host Barnet this evening, Kevin Maher’s side looking to make it seven matches unbeaten in the Vanarama National League.

Blues’ 1-0 victory away at Dover Athletic on Saturday extended an excellent run of form which has seen them pick up 14 points from there last possible 18.

But the Blues boss is staying grounded despite his side’s upturn.

"I’m not going to get carried away," said Maher.

"In football if you get ahead of yourself, you can come unstuck.

"We will be looking no further than the next game and that’s what we’ve done throughout January, at the end of the season we will see where we end up.

"But if you take your eye off the ball then you’ll be in trouble in this league.

"Like Saturday showed, Dover are down there and slightly cut adrift but they were competitive, and every game will be like that throughout the rest of the season I think.

"We want to keep our standards high, and we will keep on driving to get as many points as we can."

Blues were backed by over 1900 fans in Dover, and Maher feels there is a feel-good factor around the club bringing supporters closer to the club.

"The connection feels good between the fans and the club again.

"When I came in I could sense that wasn’t there but we’re building those bridges and hopefully they can see what we’re doing in terms of building the club.

"There’s loads of good work going on behind the scenes and a lot of good people doing a lot of work. Long may that continue."

Banishing their early-season struggles in front of goal, Blues have scored in every league outing since their mid-November trip to Grimsby Town.

And looking forward to the clash against Barnet, Maher is keen to take the game to the visitors.

"I know the manager quite well and I’m sure he will have them up for it.

"They have some dangerous attacking players but we’re at home and we’ll look to get on the front foot.

"We’ll try to take the game to them, but it will be tough, like all games in this league.”

Blues have bolstered their squad in the last month, introducing seven new signings to the fray.

And Maher is now pleased with the competition for places in his squad.

"You know if you go out onto the pitch you have to perform because the ones behind you are going to be pushing.

"One or two will be disappointed they’re not playing but that’s football.

"If you want to be part of the club moving forward then you’ve got to perform, that’s how it is and unfortunately not everyone can play.

"But things change very quickly so those not in the team have to be ready."

Plenty of work has gone on behind the scenes to bring in Blues’ new recruits, and Maher has praised the ongoing work of the newfound scouting system in identifying targets.

"Since we’ve come in the whole scouting system has changed.

"We have scouts out every week who are doing an unbelievable job for us.

"It’s taken time to build it up and it’s everyone in the football department working together with a common goal of making the club better.

"We monitor players and it’s an area we’ve definitely improved on."

But Harry Cardwell, a recent arrival at Roots Hall, is a doubt for tonight’s clash after suffering a nasty facial clash at Crabble on Saturday.

"He got a whack on his eye which closed up a bit. We’ll see how he is in the 24 hours but there’s a doubt over whether he’ll play."

Click here to buy tickets for the game.

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