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Southend United manager Phil Brown: The FA Cup will always be so special for me
IT’S the turn of the FA Cup again this weekend as we travel to Chesterfield and it’s a competition I always look forward to being involved in.
I’ve had some fantastic memories in the cup as a player, especially at Bolton Wanderers where we enjoyed some shock victories at places like Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal.
They were all great venues to go and play and they are matches I remember well, even now.
We won 2-0 at Anfield and 3-1 at Highbury up against an Arsenal team which contained the likes of Paul Merson, Ian Wright and Alan Smith.
As a coach with Bolton, I experienced the more painful side of things when we lost on penalties to Aston Villa in the semi-finals at Wembley after Dean Holdsworth had missed an absolute sitter.
The aim for us at Southend is to try to reach the third round and be drawn against one of the big boys to add to the good memories I have in this competition.
We’re going into the game in good spirits too, even though it was obviously disappointing to let the late penalty in like we did against Cheltenham Town last weekend.
We were 25 seconds away from going top of the league but we’re still on a hell of a run and it’s important we take our November form into December because this time of year can often shape your season.
We hope to have Barry Corr and Freddy Eastwood available again, but I think it might still be a game too early for Ryan Leonard which is a huge shame.
He’s suited to the formation we’re playing at the moment and, being honest, I don’t think Adam Thompson or Marc Laird have been able to play the role like Lenny does.
He attacks and defends and was back in light training again yesterday so hopefully he won’t be out much longer because I think we’re missing him at the moment.
LUKE PROSSER'S BEEN OUTSTANDING
IT reflects well on the whole club that I’ve been nominated for the November manager of the month award and I’m delighted Luke Prosser is on the shortlist for player of the month too.
He’s helped us get three clean sheets in November, he scored the winning goal against York and I think he’s been absolutely outstanding in the last few games.
He’s got the basics of his game right and has been a nine out of 10 in all of the recent matches.
Everyone at the club thinks that but the challenge for Luke now is to keep that going and maintain his level of performance.
A FOOTBALLER WILL SOON FOLLOW TOM DALEY'S LEAD
TOM Daley has hit the headlines this week after revealing he is in a relationship with a man and I honestly think it’s only a matter of time before a footballer makes a similar announcement.
A lot is made about homophobia in football and it was a shame Robbie Rogers, who played at Leeds, felt it was necessary to go and play in America after he came out.
I don’t think it will be long until another player comes out though and everyone should just accept it and start to get used to it.
FULL COLUMN IN THURSDAY'S ECHO