Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard disappointed but not downhearted following defeat at Torquay United

Echo: Ryan Leonard - back in action for Southend United at Torquay on Saturday Ryan Leonard - back in action for Southend United at Torquay on Saturday

SOUTHEND United’s returning midfielder Ryan Leonard was disappointed but not downhearted following Blues’ 1-0 defeat at Torquay United on Saturday.

A second half strike from the Gulls on loan striker John Marquis condemned the Shrimpers to a shock defeat at Plainmoor.

But Leonard, who replaced Marc Laird in midfield towards the start of the second half after four games out with a hamstring strain, insists Phil Brown’s side should not reflect on the reverse for too long.

“We just weren’t good enough all over the pitch out there and we have to do better again from now on,” said Leonard, 21.

“Torquay were better than us in the windy conditions but we’re certainly not going to use that as an excuse for our bad performance.

“We had a couple of chances and if one of those goes in then it would suddenly have become a different game.

“We’re all really disappointed but we’ve lost one game in eight and six of those have been wins.

“We’re only two points away from the top three so we certainly can’t afford to get too downhearted about this.

“It was a bad day at the office for us all but now it’s all about making sure we bounce back properly and get back to playing well, starting with the Rochdale game on Friday.”

Leonard is also desperate to play more of a part in that match and continue where he left off before picking up the hamstring injury in training following Blues’ 2-0 win at Exeter City in mid-November.

The former Plymouth Argyle trainee had been one of the Shrimpers’ most consistent performers before the setback.

And he is keen to rediscover that form now his fitness has been restored.

“The circumstances I came back in to here weren't very nice but of course I hope to be able to play more a point in the games coming up now,” said Leonard.

“I’ve been working hard in training so my fitness isn’t an issue at all and I just want to be playing again because it’s been so frustrating being injured.

“Hopefully my chance will come against Rochdale but if not then I’ll just have to keep on working hard and make sure I’m ready when the opportunity does come my way.”

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