Pompey v Southend: The Opposition View

Phil Brown. Picture: Sharon Lucey
Phil Brown. Picture: Sharon Lucey
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We caught up with Chris Phillips from the Southend Echo to get the lowdown on the Shrimpers’ form so far this season.

Southend’s form has been on the up recently.

But there has been quite a big difference between the home and away results.

They haven’t been beaten at home in the league so far, but away from home they have conceded the most goals in the league.

In their defence, their away fixtures have been pretty tough – they’ve been to Shrewsbury, Charlton, Wigan and a few of the other teams up there.

Things do seem to be turning around a bit, though.

The only game they’ve lost in the past five was in the FA Cup.

There’s been a couple of 1-0 wins and three of the victories have been with a clean sheet.

So it does feel like a corner has been turned – but that’s always a bit of a dangerous thing to say!

The best performance of the season by far was the opening-day victory over Blackburn.

It was a brilliant display and you felt this could be the season after coming on strong over the second half of last campaign and missing out on the play-offs by a point.

There was momentum but after that they didn’t win for nine games! It went from one extreme to the other but it’s looking more promising.

All in all, it’s improving but they are in mid-table and in contention for the play-offs.

That has to be aim this season after coming close last time around.

To be fair, the chairman has backed boss Phil Brown.

Michael Kightly has come in along with Rob Kiernan and Michael Turner. Those kind of players wouldn’t have been cheap.

So the support for the manager has been there, and the chairman’s hoping to make the top six.

Simon Cox was the top scorer last season with 16 goals, but he hasn’t really got going again this year.

He’s missed a couple of penalties but is top scorer with four.

So the side haven’t been particularly prolific so far.

They did score four away at Fleetwood, but otherwise it’s one and twos.

The best player in the team by a mile is Ryan Leonard. He’s not someone who’s going to get forward, be a big goal threat and demolish teams.

Leonard has been player of the year for the past two years and is the one to watch out for. He’s very athletic and will pop up all over the pitch.

Sheffield United and Millwall both had £500,000 bids rejected in the summer.

That’s a bit of a gamble because he’s in the last year of his contract.

One way or the other he won’t be in League One next season, that’s for sure.