Southend United's Neil Harris: Bradford City game huge for both teams

Neil Harris

Neil Harris

First published in Sport by

IT’S A huge game at Roots Hall this weekend when we take on an in-form Bradford City and I just wish I could be involved it.

They’re fourth in the table and beat Arsenal in the Capital One Cup during the week, which is something they deserve tremendous praise and congratulations for.

But against us it will be a different kettle of fish and we will be wanting to keep our own good run of results going.

We made it 11 games unbeaten by beating Bury in the FA Cup on Tuesday night and I can safely say I’ve never been so cold watching a game of football.

It was tough conditions for both sides and the referee was close to calling it off.

At half-time he told the players he was giving it 10 minutes before making a decision.

If either of the teams had complained he may well have abandoned it but credit to everyone involved for getting to the end of the tie.

Chris Barker, who has played hundreds of games during his own career, said it was the worst pitch he’s played on during his whole career.

But thankfully we came out on top, with Daniel Bentley in fine form in goal.

He conducted himself superbly during the whole game and deserves every single word of praise which has been coming his way.

He’s set his standard now and if he continues to improve like he has done then he will go on to have a great career in the game.

BRAINS OF THE BLUES!

WE’VE had our usual intelligent comments from the same members of the dressing room this week.

Marc Laird has been at the heart of it again and we realised he was turning up early to games because he had to get someone to help him put a tie on.

Apparently, Luke Prosser has been doing it for most of his time here and I was asked before the match with Bury on Tuesday.

David Martin also showed off his lack of brain cells when he came off during the game and asked when the next replay was going to be.

He didn’t realise it was going to extra time and penalties, which is something of a concern.

Talking of penalties, Gavin Tomlin has been getting a lot of stick for his effort which was saved during the shoot-out.

He apologised after the game and it didn’t cost us in the end.

But I think it’s safe to say he will be buying Daniel Bentley a drink very, very soon for letting him off the hook!

PROGRESS SHOWN BY FLEETWOOD DISAPPOINTMENT

I FULLY agree with the manager and the rest of the lads that being disappointed to have drawn at Fleetwood on Saturday shows how far we have progressed since the start of the season.

Having two goals disallowed means we were frustrated not to have won but Fleetwood are also up there in the play off positions and have a very big squad and budget.

Referee Darren Deadman hit the headlines after the game for appearing to make a gesture in the direction of our fans.

I’ve been involved in many games he has taken charge of during the years and he is definitely an official who likes to have a laugh and joke with you.

But it’s a tricky one what happened on Saturday and is also a bit bizarre.

We’re constantly asking for players and fans to behave better and show more respect towards the officials, but they can’t have it both ways.

However, I don’t expect much to come of what happened at Fleetwood other than someone having a quiet word in his ear to tell him to cut it out.

ANDY MURRAY GETS MY VOTE

IT’S BBC Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday and I think it’s really difficult to pick out a winner.

I don’t really know how you can decide between the number of top athletes who have achieved so much success during 2012.

But I think my vote would go to Andy Murray.

He became the first British winner of grand slam title for 76 years when he won the US Open and I think that just goes to show the size of the achievement.

He’s also won it during a time when they are so many top players around and won gold at the Olympics too.

FULL COLUMN IN THURSDAY'S ECHO

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