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Southend United's Ryan Leonard wants to build on win against Chesterfield
RYAN Leonard wants Saturday’s hard fought win at Chesterfield to kick start the season for both Southend United and himself.
The 20-year-old midfielder made his first start since October as Blues dug deep to beat the Spireites 1-0.
And Leonard is now keen to remain part of Paul Sturrock’s side as they push for promotion in to League One.
“For me personally it was great to be back playing again and it was a vital win for the team too,” said Leonard.
“It had been a frustrating time for me getting niggling injuries and not playing and the last few results hadn’t been too good either.
“But the win at Chesterfield was a character building result and hopefully we can build on that now and hopefully I can play a part in that.”
Leonard started the first six games of Southend’s season before being struck by a hamstring injury.
Since then he has made the starting line-up just three times and has made five substitute appearances.
However, despite the lack of match action, Leonard was still able to last the full 90 minutes at the Proact Stadium.
“I was feeling it a bit in the last five minutes but I was fine up until then,” said the former Plymouth Argyle trainee.
“You do extra training when you’re not playing but it’s hard to replicate what it’s like when you’re playing.
“The game would have done me a lot of good though and I want to try and push on now and remain involved for this Saturday’s game against Oxford.”
The match with the U’s will be the third time the teams have met this season.
Oxford won the first clash 2-0 at the Kassam Stadium before Blues won there on penalties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy earlier this month after the game had ended 3-3.
Leonard is therefore expecting a tough test this weekend.
“Oxford are outside the play-offs but I think their position in the table is a false one,” said the midfielder.
“They should be higher up and I’m sure they soon will be so we will have to play well to beat them.
“We’ve had two hard games against them already this season and I’m sure this will be the same.”
However, Leonard remains confident of coming out on top.
And he would love to help make that happen by working his way on the score-sheet.
The midfielder has not netted since scoring at Port Vale in August 2011 and is keen to improve his scoring record.
“I should score more goals than I do and I think that’s what I need to work on the most,” said Leonard.
“I scored a few during pre-season last year but I should be getting more and Saturday would be a good place to start.”