Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Tamika Mkandawire: My spell at Southend United is for more than just fitness
TAMIKA Mkanadawire insists he has joined Southend United for more than just improving his own match fitness.
The defensive midfielder played his first full game in 13 months when making his Blues debut in Tuesday night's 3-2 triumph at Bristol Rovers.
And the on loan Millwall man was keen to stress his desire to help Paul Sturrock's side move up the League Two table during his spell at Roots Hall. “I'm not just coming here to get fit and help myself because I want to do well for Southend too and help them get good results,” said Mkanadawire.
“They have given me a chance to play football again and I want to help them get higher up the table by getting some good results and I do feel the players are here for us to do that.”
Mkandawire made an impressive first start for Paul Sturrock's side at the Memorial Stadium, reading the game well just in front of the back four.
The 29-year-old's previous last full league game had come for the Lions against Brighton and Hove Albion in October 2011.
And he was therefore thrilled to be back in action in Bristol.
“It's been a frustrating 12 months for me and it's great to be back now,” said Mkandawire.
“I had a knee injury and there were a few setbacks on the way back to fitness which was hard to take.
“But my knee felt fine on Tuesday which was good and I really enjoyed it.
“I felt fine in the first half but the second was a little tougher.
“However, that match fitness and sharpness will improve the more we play and I'm looking forward to the matches we have coming up.
“Winning at Bristol Rovers was a great result and now we want to go and get a few more victories.”
Blues' next chance of recording another three points comes against second placed Port Vale at Roots Hall this weekend.
And Mkandawire is confident of coming out on top.
“If we play like we did in the first half on Tuesday night then we definitely have a chance,” said Mkandawire, who is initially with Southend until the beginning of December. “The second half wasn't as good but we dug in and we're delighted by the win.”