Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard must get used to extra attention, warns manager Phil Brown

Ryan Leonard - has suffered an ankle injury

Ryan Leonard - has suffered an ankle injury

First published in Sport by

SOUTHEND United injury doubt Ryan Leonard must start get used to the extra attention coming his way from opposition players, according to his manager Phil Brown.

Leonard has not trained this week due to an ankle problem and will face a late fitness test ahead of tomorrow’s clash with AFC Wimbledon at Roots Hall.

But Brown expects the energetic midfielder to start picking up more knocks, due to the fine form he has been in this season.

“I think Ryan has become the focus of attention now because other teams have realised what an asset he is and he’s probably being fouled more than anyone else in the league at the moment,” said the Shrimpers chief.

“He’s going to have to be able to deal with that and there are going to be times when we need to wrap him up in cotton wool at the training ground.

“He hasn’t trained so far this week but hopefully he will be out there today and he will be fine for the game because he’s obviously a very important player for us.”

The sixth placed Shrimpers head in to the game on the back of three successive wins.

However, Leonard is not their only slight injury doubt.

Skipper John White had to play the whole of the second half at Cheltenham Town last weekend with his hamstring bandaged up while Kevan Hurst have also not trained this week after suffering a calf problem.

But Brown expects the duo to be fit enough to again link up down the right hand side.

And he has urged them and the fans to remain patient as the Shrimpers bid to see off the 17th placed Dons.

“The game at Wimbledon earlier on in the season could’ve gone either way before we won it and they will be attempting to frustrate us again tomorrow so we have to stay patient,” said Brown.

“The players and the fans both need to realise that it could take a while to break them down as I’m sure they will be looking to stodge things up a little bit.

“We’re in good spirits though, we want to make it four wins in a row and then we have another four league games to look at after that.”

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