Southend United's Ryan Leonard: We can handle the pressure of the play-offs

Echo: Ryan Leonard - feels Southend United can handle the pressure of the play-offs Ryan Leonard - feels Southend United can handle the pressure of the play-offs

SOUTHEND United’s player of the season Ryan Leonard is adamant the Shrimpers can handle the pressure of the play-offs.

Defeat to Burton in the two legged semi-final would bring Blues’ season to a painful conclusion But Leonard believes Phil Brown’s side have what it takes to work their way through to Wembley.

“Of course there is real pressure on these games but we have dealt with that all season and I’m sure we will do that again now,” said the 21-year-old.

“We’ve beaten Burton twice this season but it’s not something we will be thinking about when we go there on Sunday because it’s a completely different environment this time.

“It’s just two games and we’ve got to go to their place with new ideas but also carry on with the way we have been playing recently because it has been very good.”

The Shrimpers have been beaten just once in their last nine games, with Leonard playing a prominent part in the success.

The midfielder has been in fine form in the centre of the park.

And he is now desperate to end his best ever season with promotion.

“The only way to make this season any better for me, in which I’ve signed a new deal, played a lot of games, been captain, scored goals and won the award from the supporters, is by winning promotion,” said Leonard.

“It has been a big year for me but that won’t count for much unless we can win promotion.

“We’re all confident that is what we can do, and we’ve got the belief to make it happen too.

“We’re really looking forward to Sunday as well, especially as we’re taking so many fans to the game and hopefully we can get another good result against them to take in to the second leg.”

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