AS a manager it’s sometimes easy to appear to be wise after the event, but I really did sense the blood was back pumping in the veins of my players.
I did feel as though we were about to turn something of a corner and hopefully we’ve done that with these two wins in a row.
We saw off Oxford before also beating Torquay and I thought those performances were chalk and cheese.
What was the same in both matches was the work-rate without the ball and I would certainly like to make reference to the fact that we’ve kept four clean sheets in a row now.
That’s fantastic for a young goalkeeper like Daniel Bentley and for him to now have 17 clean sheets is testament to all the work he puts in on the training ground.
He’s under pressure from Paul Smith, Ted Smith and Luke Chambers but you wouldn’t know that from the way he plays.
That competition for places is now spread across the whole team and it was shown up by a match we had in training last week.
I played the first team against another senior line up and I honestly think that side would also be able to compete in League Two.
We had Paul Smith in goal, Bedsente Gomis, Luke Prosser, Adam Thompson and Anthony Straker in defence with Jack Payne, Conor Clifford, Marc Laird and Jacob Murphy in midfield and Freddy Eastwood and Barry Corr in attack.
That’s a strong side in itself and shows the massive selection headache I have when it comes to picking the right team for our game against Cheltenham this weekend.
FREDDY'S FORM MAY PUT HIM IN FRAME FOR A NEW CONTRACT
IT was absolutely brilliant for Freddy Eastwood to pop up with the winning goal against Torquay at the weekend.
He’s looked after himself well on and off the pitch and looked really good in those 30 minutes he played.
He was probably looking at it wondering where he might have been going with Jamar Loza and Lee Barnard coming in and Barry Corr being back from suspension. But Freddy has responded in the best way possible by getting back among the goals.
There’s actually a clause in his contract, which expires at the end of the season, which give us an option to extend it if we want to. Now, if he keeps on playing like he did after coming on against Torquay then that will be something we certainly look at.
He’s only 30 years old so he should really have at least three or four years left in the game but his future is certainly something I will be debating over the remaining weeks of the summer.
JACOB MURPHY WILL BE AN ASSET TO US
WE welcomed Jacob Murphy to the club on loan from Norwich City on transfer deadline day and I thought we saw glimpses of what he’s all about when he came on against Torquay.
He’s an old fashioned type of winger with plenty of pace and he can play on the right or the left which I’m sure is going to be a real asset for us.
At the same time, we allowed Mark Phillips and Seedy Njie to head out on loan.
Mark found himself down the pecking order a bit and fair play to him for wanting to go out and get games with Aldershot.
If he can now secure himself a future with another club then he would go with our best wishes because he’s been a great servant to Southend.
Seedy is at the other end of the career and it was important for him to end this season strongly with Concord.
We’ll be having a look at him because we need to decide on him for next season.
Ideally I would like to have more of a development squad next year and have a group of eight to 10 players who are between the youth team and the first team.
FORGET BARRY CORR, PFA SHOULD LOOK INTO VESELI'S ACTIONS
I HAD the Professional Footballers Association contact me this week to discuss internal discipline at the club.
I’m very much in favour of the PFA and certainly respect them as well.
But they were ringing to speak about Barry Corr and the decision we made to fine him for the red card he received against Bury.
Barry and I have had three or four conversations since this and we will move forward together.
But the PFA need to take a look at another one of their members, Frederic Veseli, and the part he played in Barry’s dismissal.
I have footage which showed he clearly dived to earn an advantage for his side.
I said that to the PFA but they said there was nothing they could do and it was actually up to the Football Association.
I don’t think that should be the case though and Veseli really should be taken to task for what he did.