SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown has revealed his side have been practising penalties for the past three months ahead of the play-offs.

Tomorrow’s semi-final second leg against Burton Albion will be decided by spot-kicks if the two teams are level on aggregate at the end of the game.

And Brown has ensured his players are prepared as they could be for a penalty shoot-out.

“We’ve been practising penalties for about three months now to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be,” said the Blues boss.

“We haven’t really had too many penalties this year and I thought we could’ve had one at Burton on Sunday when John Egan went down.

“But everyone has been having a go at taking them to make sure they’re as confident as they can be.

“Penalty shoot-outs are a real lottery however you approach them but it’s best to be as prepared as you can be for them and that’s certainly what we will be if that does end up happening.”

Brown ideally wants the tie to be finished inside 90 minutes with his side having overturned a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

And Blues’ improved home form has given him the confidence to believe that could well happen.

“We had to sort out the results at Roots Hall after winning six out of 23 games there last season and that’s something we’ve done so that gives us real hope,” said Brown.

“I think this season we’ve got results in 18 out of 23 matches so we’ve been doing much better and we need to take that form in tomorrow’s game.

“We actually played quite well at Burton in the first leg too so that also gives us encouragement.

“These are the games you want to play in, it’s going to be a great day and we will be giving our all to try and get back to Wembley for the final.”