SOUTHEND United midfielder Conor Clifford feels his improved reading of the game is helping him shine for the Shrimpers this season.

Clifford netted an impressive long range effort to help Blues pick up a 1-1 draw at Brunton Park.

And the Irishman has revealed a book leant to him by team-mate Kevan Hurst during pre-season has helped him to hit top form.

“Getting fitter and more confident has been a big help but so too has a book I read during pre-season called the Mind of A Footballer,” said Clifford.

“Kevan Hurst let me borrow me it and to be honest it's the first whole book I've ever read.

“I went through bits of Roy Keane's autobiography but I found this really helpful “It went through the psychological side of the game which often gets forgotten about.

“But I certainly think it's been helping me and it was great to get a goal again.

“I had been working on my long range shooting with Ryan Leonard and Dave Penney in the week so hopefully I can go on to get a few more now.”

Clifford's long range effort came on the stroke of half-time just two minutes after Antony Sweeney had headed Carlisle in front.

And Clifford was disappointed Blues did not go on to collect all three points.

“We were all gutted after the game because the opportunities were there for us to get the win,” said the 22-year-old.

“We all feel we should have won but after spending eight hours getting here on the coach getting a point isn't too bad.”

Blues will now be bidding to get back to winning ways when they make another long trip to take on Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

And Clifford is confident the Shrimpers will soon start to finish the opportunities coming their way.

“I think it would be more of a concern if we weren't making these chances,” said the former Chelsea trainee.

“We're playing well and I'm certain once one of these chances goes in for the forwards a few more will follow and we're going to give someone a good roasting.”