Southend United manager Phil Brown with his latest Echo column

Ryan Leonard in action during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Carlisle United

Ryan Leonard in action during Saturday's 1-1 draw at Carlisle United

First published in Sport by

I’VE been fact finding since Saturday’s game at Carlisle United in a bid for us to start getting the results our performances have deserved.

In our last three league games, we have picked up four points from a possible nine and we should have taken far more than that.

We haven’t been taking the chances we’ve created but the statistics have shown that we’re playing well.

In our last three games we’ve attempted 1, 046 passes and 831 of them have been successful which is around about an 80 per cent success rate.

That’s a big improvement from what we produced last season and we’ve also had 74 crosses and 56 shots on goal.

However, only 16 of them have been on target and that’s what we’ve been working on this week.

People often talk about the final pass or cross but the final shot needs to come in to the equation as well.

It isn’t always a good time to shoot, which might sound strange, but that’s something we’ve been trying to get across to the players this week.

They need to show a bit more composure and improve their shot selection.

Sometimes there’s another pass on to stretch the defence even further and hopefully we can start taking advantage of that because the positive thing is we’re still playing very well.

BRISTOL CITY BREAK WILL HELP US

IT’S another long journey for us this weekend as we travel to Plymouth Argyle.

We’ve decided to try and break up the travelling by training elsewhere on the way there and we’re very grateful to Bristol City for allowing us to train there tomorrow.

Hopefully that will help us because I thought it was quite a leggy display from us at Carlisle United.

The journey there was probably part of that because the players set off at 9am on Friday morning and didn’t sit down for their evening meal until 8.30pm.

Being a bank holiday weekend didn’t help with the journey and I’m certainly not using it as an excuse.

We do constantly analyse the way we travel but there isn’t really an awful lot we can do.

CONOR CLIFFORD FINE FOR SATURDAY DESPITE HAMSTRING SCARE

CONOR Clifford gave us a slight scare when he injured his hamstring towards the end of Saturday’s draw at Carlisle United.

But it just went in to spasm which was caused by fatigue.

And he’s been training every day this week which is excellent news.

SENIOR SERVICE IS NICE

WE had a development game against Oxford United at the training ground yesterday, winning 4-3.

There were a number of pleasing factors for me including how many of our senior players came forward and said they wanted to play to show what they could do.

As a result, Lee Barnard – who scored a penalty, David Worrall, Gary Deegan and Adam Thompson, were all in the side and Jack Payne again caught the eye.

He scored twice and also won the penalty so of course he’s in my thinking for the weekend.

However, we have a very good front six to pick from now.

TED SMITH'S CALL IS A BOOST

IT was great news for the football club this week when Ted Smith was called up in to the England under 19 squad for their game in Germany.

Ted works very hard on his game and I would like to congratulate him on his selection.

It’s hard having three good goalkeepers on our books and making sure they all get games.

But the development matches we have are excellent for Ted’s progression.

He is working with one of the best young goalkeepers around in Daniel Bentley and a very experienced goalkeeper in Paul Smith which can only be a good thing.

People here have also told me Ted is better at his age than Daniel Bentley was so he’s certainly another very exciting prospect for us.

ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE LAUGH

WE’VE had a good laugh around the club this week with the ALS Ice Bucket challenges that have been going on.

I did mine and it was suddenly put to me that I had to make three nominations.

I wasn’t sure who to pick so I plumped for the chairman and the chief executive who, to their credit, both did it.

The chairman got involved, wearing his suit and tie so he certainly wasn’t hiding away from it.

Some people have said to me I may have enjoyed pouring the ice cold water on him a bit too much but I won’t be making any comment about that!

LOUIS VAN GAAL HAS HIS WORK CUT OUT

I WENT to watch Oxford United at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night.

But when I turned the radio on for the journey home I literally couldn’t believe Manchester United had lost 4-0 at MK Dons.

Having seen the highlights it looks as though the players didn’t really know what was expected of them.

It’s a club in transition and maybe even disarray so it will take some time to sort out which means Louis Van Gaal has a massive job on his hands.

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