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Southend United's Ryan Leonard wants to keep run going
RYAN Leonard believes his new found fitness levels have been behind his own impressive start to the season.
The Blues midfielder has caught the eye with his impressive energy levels in the centre of the park so far this season.
And he is now eager to produce another determined display against Northampton Town tomorrow as Phil Brown’s side bid to continue their fine start to the season.
“I think I’m the fittest I’ve ever been which is certainly helping but we’re all feeling good and want the three points again this weekend,” said Leonard, 21.
“If we all keep the work rate then we’ll have a fighting chance against anyone in this league but Northampton will be very hard opponents.
“We’ve struggled against them in the last couple of seasons but if we put in a good performance and also show a bit more quality on the ball then I think we can definitely get another good result.”
Leonard again looks set to line up alongside Marc Laird in a more central midfield position.
The former Plymouth Argyle trainee had previously featured more on the wing.
But he is relishing his new role and knows he must keep playing well to stay in the starting line-up.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing in the middle,” said Leonard.
“I played there when I was a kid so it’s not completely new to me and I think Lairdy and I have a good understanding.
“I’d like to play there for longer but we’ve got real strength in the midfield this season.
“It’s a good and healthy thing to have and everyone knows you have to be on top of your game to stay in the team.”
Blues boss Brown has hinted that Kevan Hurst could be back in the squad after recovering from a knee injury but centre-back Mark Phillips faces a late fitness test on a niggling injury.
The on loan Adam Thompson is on standby to replace him but Barry Corr will definitely be available in attack after the Shrimpers successfully appealed against the red card he received at Hartlepool United last weekend.
Corr will now not have to serve a three match suspension but Brown has told the striker he must learn to keep his temper under control.
“When the referee and linesman were talking last week they knew Barry by his first name but they didn’t know the opposition defender and I think Barry does have a reputation which he is going to have to deal with now,” said Brown.
“That was the sixth red card of his career and I’ve said to him that when the red mist does descend he has to realise if he wants to be sat next to me or learn to control it.
“We need him to be aggressive but he has to learn to control it at the same time. “