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18 March 2022

Southend United Head Coach Kevin Maher has been pleased with his side’s reaction following their first league defeat of the calendar year, as Blues prepare for a tough test at home against Altrincham on Saturday.

Maher’s team fell to a 3-0 defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday, which brought their 13-match unbeaten run to a crashing halt, but the Blues boss revealed that his players have been in good spirits going into the weekend’s clash.

"We trained today, and everyone was lively again," said the 45-year-old.

"They’ve been brilliant with the effort and application in training and in games.

"I’m sure they will respond and they’re desperate to get winning again so they’re looking forward to Saturday as well.”

Reflecting upon the defeat against the Daggers, Maher felt it was ‘just one of those nights.’

Blues failed to rectify their poor start and the Head Coach is keen for his side to put the result behind them, and to focus on the task ahead.

"Everyone was disappointed that the unbeaten run came to an end and in the manner it did as well," said Maher, whose side have now lost just once in their last 14 league outings.

"We’ve put it to bed now and look forward to Saturday against another team in good form.

"We always go into every game trying to win it and when we don’t it’s disappointing.

"We’re disappointed with how we started; it was contagious after that.

"That’s done now, we can’t change that.

"We’re at home again and the fans will get behind them again."

Blues go toe-to-toe with Altrincham on Saturday, the in-form visitors have picked up 10 points from their last possible 15, and have scored nine goals in their last two outings.

Maher knows it’ll be a tough test for his side, and he has encouraged his team to get back to playing in the way which previously yielded positive results.

"We’re hoping to go out on Saturday and play with freedom, do the basics right and put a good performance in," said the Head Coach.

"They’re [Altrincham] scoring goals for fun so they’re in good form.

"It’s one we’ve got to be ready for."

Southend’s midweek defeat was the first time they hadn’t scored in a league fixture since mid-November, and was the fourth consecutive game that striker Harry Cardwell sat out with a hamstring issue.

And Maher gave an update on the recovery of the 25-year-old, who has scored twice in his six appearances so far for the club.

"He’s been out on the grass with the physios today [Thursday]," said the Blues boss.

"Saturday will probably come too early for him in all honesty but the sooner he’s back the better because he plays a big part for us.

"There’s no pressure on him but it will be a big bonus when he’s back.

"We’re being careful and we don’t want to bring him back too soon.

"He has to hit certain metrics with the sports science team before he come fully back into training."

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