Southend United's Neil Harris: No panic, but we want that buzz back

Neil Harris - back in action for Southend United

Neil Harris - back in action for Southend United

First published in Sport by

THE last few results haven’t gone the way we would’ve liked, but there is certainly no need to be panicking just yet.

In our last three league games we’ve lost to Burton, Gillingham and Exeter, who are all good sides in the top six, and I don’t think there’s any disgrace in losing to any of them.

We’re obviously disappointed not to have picked up points in those matches, but the spirit in the squad is still good, which is very important, and we all want to bounce back against Plymouth this weekend.

That’s a very important game now and we need to get that winning momentum going again.

We need to get a buzz back and come out playing at a real tempo.

Plymouth will be tough opponents after bringing in John Sheridan as their manager and also making a couple of new signings.

They had a good win against Morecambe last weekend too so will be in good spirits.

But we will also be fired up to get the three points.

Losing to Brentford in the FA Cup on Tuesday night was another disappointment because we all would’ve loved to have played against Chelsea in the next round. We would’ve loved our fans to be able to see their superstars at Roots Hall and we were all aware of the financial rewards it would bring as well.

However, Brentford showed what a strong side they are and I would be very surprised if they don’t go on to win promotion.

They showed real quality with the ball and also put pressure on us when we had it.

I actually think they played the way we did during the unbeaten run we had and I think we can learn from what they did against us.

They’ve set a benchmark for us now and we want to be able to reach those levels.

But the FA Cup was always a bonus for us this year.

We started out with the ambition of trying to reach round three or four and taking on a Premier League team, which we very nearly did.

The league has always been our priority though and we want to make sure we stay in the top seven.

We also want to stay in touch with the top three because promotion is our number one target this season.

And that’s why Saturday’s game with Plymouth is so important.

SMUDGER'S TOP PERFORMANCE

I’VE been lucky enough to have played with some top goalkeepers during my career and I’d say Nigel Spink was the best of that bunch.

But Paul Smith’s display for us against Brentford on Tuesday night was one of the best I’ve ever seen from a keeper.

When you’re being outplayed you have to rely on your goalkeeper at times to keep you in the game and that’s exactly what Smudger did.

Some of his saves were first class, including the penalty, and it was great to see because, at times, it’s been a difficult start for Paul at the club.

He’s had a bit of competition from Daniel Bentley,  but against Brentford he showed just why he has spent so much of his career playing at a higher level.

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