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Southend United's Ryan Leonard: It's pay back time against Dagenham & Redbridge
RYAN Leonard wants to help Southend United get their own back on Dagenham & Redbridge at Roots Hall tonight.
The Daggers became the first visiting team to score five goals at the home of the Shrimpers in 13 years when they dumped them out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy just a fortnight ago.
And Leonard is therefore desperate to help Blues come out on top this evening.
“Having lost last time like we did against Dagenham we need to put in a good performance for ourselves, the fans and the club,” said the ever improving midfielder.
“We were disappointed to be knocked out of the JPT but the league is more important for us and we’ve won our last three games in that now so we want to keep it going.
“We’ve also kept three clean sheets so hopefully we’ve shown the manner of our defeat to Dagenham was just a one off and we’re certainly more than capable of getting the win tonight.”
Leonard will be going all out to make that happen and is again expected to line up alongside Conor Clifford and Will Atkinson in an industrious three man midfield.
The hard-working trio have impressed in the centre of park for ninth placed Blues.
And Leonard is enjoying his own part in their success.
“It’s been great playing in the sitting role and hopefully I can keep that position because you need to do it all season, not just 12 games,” said Leonard.
“We’ve won every game we’ve played together as a midfield three so far so we just need to keep it going.
“We’ve got a good understanding and I’m certainly enjoying it.
“I’m pleased with how I’m playing and I think that’s down to my fitness and my confidence probably being better than it’s ever been before.”
Blues will again be without defender Julian Bennett (cruciate ligaments) and midfielder Marc Laird (hamstring).
Defender Adam Thompson is expected to be missing for another fortnight with the calf injury he sustained while training with Northern Ireland’s under 21 team.
But striker Craig Reid could be back on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.