Southend United manager Phil Brown: Burton Albion play-off game is one of the biggest of my career

Echo: Phil Brown - ready for one of the biggest games in his career Phil Brown - ready for one of the biggest games in his career

SATURDAY’S play-off semi-final against Burton Albion is right up there with the biggest games of my career.

We’ve been planning for this and trying to get promotion for many months now and these 90 minutes will help to determine whether or not we’re good enough for that to happen.

It’s something we’re looking forward to and it’s certainly a time for fire in the belly and ice in the mind.

We need to be aggressive and up for the game but we also need that calmness and a cool head in front of goal.

I’ve looked at the statistics from all three of our previous games against Burton and, although they’ve been decided by just one goal, we’ve dominated the possession.

That bodes well for the weekend and I think it’s going to come down to how we perform in the final third.

We need the likes of Barry Corr, Kevan Hurst, Freddy Eastwood, Anthony Straker, Jacob Murphy and whoever else might be up there to keep their cool and not just try to blast everything.

Everything is very much still to play for and we still have a group which is packed full of energy which is great to see.

It’s been business as usual in training and we’ve not changed anything as I think that would’ve resulted in some anxiety being created.

But it’s a game to be excited about and we need to make sure we get the balance right as we look to come back from being a goal behind to make it through to Wembley.

MICHAEL TIMLIN AND JOHN WHITE INJURY DOUBTS

MICHAEL Timlin and John White have both been struggling with injuries and right now I can’t say whether or not they will be fit for the weekend.

Tims picked up an ankle problem during the first leg at Burton and it’s been sore ever since and he hasn’t been able to train.

John White has a tight thigh and also hasn’t been able to train.

Hopefully they will come through OK and be able to play but we do have Adam Thompson back in training again after he suffered a slight knock.

HUGE DAY FOR HULL CITY IN FA CUP FINAL

IT’S also a huge day for my old club Hull City on Saturday as they take on Arsenal in the FA Cup final.

Steve Bruce has taken things on to the next level there now and I’m delighted to have seen that happen.

When I was there we got to the quarter finals before going out but they’ve made it through to the final which I’m delighted about, apart from the fact they knocked us out on their way there!

I think the final will be a lot closer than most neutrals expect it to be and Hull will definitely test Arsenal.

The longer they can stay in the game then the more anxious Arsenal will get because it’s quite a long time since they won a trophy.

It wasn’t that long ago that they were beaten by Birmingham in a cup final and if it’s still 0-0 with 10 or 15 minutes to go then it really could go either way.

I’ll certainly be watching and hopefully I’ll be in a good mood with us having already done the business ourselves by making the final of the play-offs.

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