Southend United manager Phil Brown: Real selection headaches for the first time this season

Echo: Selection headache - Blues boss Phil Brown Selection headache - Blues boss Phil Brown

FOR the first time this season I have a huge selection headache this weekend for our trip to Torquay United.

Will Atkinson missed our win at Chesterfield with a one match ban after picking up five yellow cards and those who played in the midfield without him did a good job.

But if someone like Will cannot get back in the team then I think it shows we really must be firing on all cylinders because he’s been fantastic for us this season.

I think he sets the level for the whole of League Two when it comes to his fitness levels and he’s been our Forrest Gump this season because he just doesn’t ever stop running.

It’s therefore going to be a real selection headache for me and we could also have Ryan Leonard to add in to the equation as he’s due to be back in full training tomorrow.

He’s also been brilliant for us this season so I’m facing a number of tough decisions this weekend.

Hopefully Rob Kiernan will be OK to continue in defence but he will be having a number of tests with our medical team before they decide if he will be fit enough to play against Torquay.

Rob suffered concussion against Chesterfield and that’s why he had to come off.

The tests have already started too as I walked in to a pitch black canteen yesterday before seeing the outlines of two people – Rob and our physio Ben Clarkson who was testing Rob’s balance.

He’s been jogging already but you can’t take any risks with a head injury and he’ll only play if he’s definitely ready to come back in.

REASONS FOR KEVAN HURST'S FINE FORM

KEVAN Hurst scored his seventh goal of the season in our win at Chesterfield and he’s now hit the back of the net more than he did in the whole of the previous campaign.

The 4-3-3 system we’re playing is suiting him and Anthony Straker as they’re both getting on to the score-sheet more regularly.

But I also think having John White at right-back is helping Kevan to perform so well.

Last year Kevan had Sean Clohessy behind him and I would describe Sean as a number seven masquerading as a number two.

John’s not like that and, as a result, Kevan no longer has someone bombing past him every five seconds.

He has more space because of that and he’s using it superbly well at the moment.

FREDDY EASTWOOD BACK IN CONTENTION

FREDDY Eastwood has thrown his hat in to the ring for selection at Torquay on Saturday after playing 65 minutes in a behind closed doors friendly against Luton we had on Tuesday.

Freddy was only down to play the first 45 but he carried on for longer and he’s also been in to train on his day off so he’s clearly keen to be as fit as possible for his return to action.

We won the match 2-1 and it was a good performance from the team.

Young Jack Payne got another goal and he’s still in the fore-front of my mind when it comes to picking the team.

It’s difficult to get him in there at the moment due to how well people are playing but he will certainly get another chance at some stage.

Bedsente Gomis got the other goal and we’re still hoping we can get clearance to sign him in time for Saturday’s game.

We nearly got it before the Chesterfield match so hopefully it can all be done before the weekend and he can be involved against Torquay.

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