Southend United's Neil Harris: Pirates win has given us all a boost

Neil Harris

Neil Harris

First published in Sport by

IT HAS been a great week for us with two victories from two tough matches.

Bristol Rovers, in particular, is always a very hard place to go and winning there has given everyone a massive boost.

They have a top class manager in Mark McGhee who I know from Millwall but I think he’s going through a difficult time there at the moment.

They have a number of players missing through injury and it could well have been a good time to play them.

You have to make the most of those chances when they come around and that’s certainly what we did.

The first half was very impressive and I don’t think there can be any doubting that we deserved the three points, even though we did make it closer than it should’ve been towards the end!

Winning at Bristol Rovers came after we beat Stockport in the FA Cup and that was very much a case of job done.

It didn’t matter how we won because it was just about getting the right result and making sure we got through to the next round, which is what we did.

We were all delighted to see Barry Corr get another goal and if he can stay fit he will be a huge player for us this season.

It was also nice to see Marc Laird get off the mark and I think he’s already shown the quality he has in his play.

He’s settled in well with the rest of the squad and then we were all pleased to see Freddy Eastwood hit the back of the net as well. A fit and firing Freddy could be hugely important for us this season because that would bring us goals and many points.

The new arrivals have also added to the competition in the squad and Elliot Benyon and John Spicer couldn’t even get on the bench at Bristol Rovers.

That goes to show how strong our squad is now we have people back fit and should mean improved results start to arrive.

This weekend we take on Port Vale who are right up towards the top of the table so it will be tough.

But we’re full of confidence and if we can start well then our fancy chances again on Saturday.

DISAPPOINTING NEWS ON MY INJURY

IT’s been disappointing news on the injury front for me this week and I’ve had to have another injection on my knee.

Last week I thought I was finally making progress and was looking to step up the training I was doing.

But unfortunately my knee didn’t respond to that in the way we would’ve liked and I’ve had to go back to see the specialist.

He’s given me another injection and the best case scenario is that I will be back in three or four week’s time which is obviously very disappointing.

If that doesn’t work then we will have to go down another avenue but I’m trying to remain positive and hope that I’m not going to be out for too much longer because I’m hating not being able to play.

TAM IS THE ULTIMATE PROFESSIONAL

IT’s absolutely fantastic to be able to welcome Tamika Mkandawire to the football club.

Tam is someone I know well having played with him at Millwall and I can honestly say he’s one of the most professional players I’ve ever been in the same side us during my whole career.

He’s a brilliant professional and prepares and recovers from matches in the perfect way.

He’s extremely committed and is the type of player you just love to have in your team.

Tam came to Millwall having played centre-back all his career but then changed to midfield and won player of the year in his first season which says all you need to know about the quality he possesses.

He’s had a few injuries along the way but I would imagine he would only be with us short term because Millwall will definitely be wanting him back for their team.

He remains part of their plans but we’re very lucky to have him for any time at all.

The way he plays is similar to JP Kalala and I think we’ve been missing that type of player in our team this term.

Having him in there will now allow more players to push forward and I think he will make a difference while he’s here.

Young players like Alex Woodyard will also learn loads from him both on and off the pitch and I think Tam coming in is superb for us and our chances of success this season.

WHY NOVEMBER IS CLOSE TO MY HEART

A FEW of the lads will be looking rather scruffy and strange in the next few weeks but I will be making no apologies for that as we’re joining in with the Movember fundraising scheme.

For those of you who don’t know, that involves growing a moustache during the month of November and raising money and awareness about for cancer charities.

It’s something very close to my heart as I lost my father to cancer and I also had it a few years ago myself.

I therefore look to join in with the fundraising schemes and have put my name down for Movember along with Ryan Cresswell and Ben Clarkson, our physio.

We’re close to getting Barry Corr on board and one of two of the other lads want to try it out to see what it looks like!

That isn’t really the idea but I’m also hoping it will prove to be lucky for us.

Last season when we all grew beards for charity we went on a fantastic run of results and hopefully a bit of silly stubble can do the same this year!

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