SOUTHEND United midfielder Will Atkinson believes Burton Albion may not sit back to protect their 1-0 lead in the second leg of the play-off semi-final at Roots Hall on Saturday.

The Brewers beat a Bradford City side, containing Atkinson, 3-2 in the first leg of the semi-finals last season only to lose 3-1 in the second.

And Atkinson, who will now be lining up for the Shrimpers, believes that could well still be playing on the minds of the Brewers when they visit Roots Hall this weekend.

“I’m sure Burton will be thinking of what happened last year and maybe they won’t be looking to sit back as much to protect their lead this time,” said the 25-year-old.

“They could look to push forward to try to get a second goal and that might actually suit us.

“But I’ll also be looking to learn from the experience of last season and will just be focusing on winning the game.

“It’s only 1-0 so it’s not as though we’re 3-0 down with a huge mountain to climb and I thought our performance wasn’t that bad on Sunday, so we’re all still feeling quite positive about things.”

But to get back into the tie and keep alive their hopes of promotion, Blues must find a way past Burton goalkeeper Dean Lyness.

The shot-stopper did well to keep out a late effort from John Egan at the Pirelli Stadium and also denied Atkinson with a good save in the first half.

“I probably struck that one too cleanly and maybe if I had scuffed it a bit it might have gone in,” said the midfielder.

“But hopefully I can get another opportunity on Saturday and I’ll be able to put it away to help us get through to the final at Wembley and get us promotion.”

Blues have now sold 7,500 tickets in the home end for the game.

And Atkinson feels that will also give the Shrimpers an edge in the second leg.

“Our fans were great at Burton on Sunday and we need them to play a big part again on Saturday because it’s a huge help for us,” he added.