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Southend United's Ryan Leonard's desperate to shine on Plymouth Argyle return
SOUTHEND United’s in-form midfielder Ryan Leonard grew up supporting Plymouth Argyle.
But this weekend the 21-year-old will be desperate to get one over his home-town club.
Leonard goes in to the game in the best of his career after scoring three goals in his last two outings.
And he is now desperate to also shine against the Pilgrims, in front of a large number of his friends and family.
“This is definitely the game I look for first when the fixtures come out and I think I must have had more than 20 requests for tickets already,” said Leonard, who also came through the youth system at Argyle.
“Some of them support Plymouth, some support other teams while others don’t really know what football is and are just coming to see me.
“Plymouth’s obviously my home-town club and it’s a great place to play but any affection I have for them goes out the window at 3 o’clock tomorrow.
“It’s just another game but it’s a very important one and we’re certainly going in to it full of confidence after the Millwall result last weekend.”
Leonard puts improved confidence and fitness down to his new found form which has seen him become one of the most influential members of the Shrimpers’ side this season.
The midfielder has helped Blues work their way up to fourth in the League Two table and the fourth round of the FA Cup with some storming displays.
But he feels Plymouth will be extremely difficult to play against this weekend.
“I obviously follow Plymouth’s results quite closely so I know they’ve turned things around recently and we’re in for a very hard game against them,” said Leonard.
“We’re obviously in good form ourselves though and if we can match the levels we reached against Portsmouth and Millwall, then I’m confident we can come away with what would be a very big three points.”
Blues go in to the game with just one defeat in their last 13 games and remain just three points behind table topping Scunthorpe United.
However, they will be forced in to making at least one change to their starting line-up this weekend as right back John White misses out with a shoulder injury.
Boss Phil Brown must also decide whether or not to recall the influential Kevan Hurst after resting for last weekend’s FA Cup clash against Millwall.
Midfielder Bedsente Gomis could also be included in the squad for the first time.