SOUTHEND United manager Paul Sturrock praised his side's fitness levels after they fought back to beat Rochdale 3-1 at Roots Hall on Saturday.

The Blues boss went in to the game concerned Dale would be the fresher team after not playing in midweek.

But he was pleasantly surprised with how his players stood up to the challenge.

"I was worried about the freshness of the two teams with us having played at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night but once again we got stronger as the game went on and it was different class to be honest,” said Sturrock.

"The fact I didn't put a sub on shows just that and to see the boys running as hard in the 90th minute as the first is absolutely fantastic.”

And those energy levels also enabled Blues to get back to winning ways in the league at Roots Hall.

Southend had gone five games without a home win and had not triumphed since beating York City in October.

But a trio of second half strikes was enough to see them triumph against Dale.

"When we went 1-0 down you thought a normal home result look like it might resume but to be fair they rolled their sleeves up and their work rate and everything was terrific,” said Sturrock.

“The home form had been something of a concern but this was a much better performance.

"In fact, I was disappointed we didn't come in leading at half-time having hit the post and had a few good efforts saved.

“In the second half it was pretty even but as the game started to unfold we started to get on top and our counter attack worked.

“That's made it three wins in a row for us and that always does you a huge favour in terms of the table but it's very tight and we're just looking at picking up as many points as we can from every game.”