SKY Sports pundit Peter Beagrie feels Southend United must play more direct football if they are to triumph against Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday.

The former Everton and Bradford City winger was part of the television channel’s live coverage of the game at Gresty Road.

And he feels Blues can overturn the 1-0 deficit if they put more long balls into the box.

“The majority of Southend’s chances in the first leg came from getting balls into the penalty area and that’s what they will need to do more of on Wednesday,” said Beagrie.

“Their players are more physical and Crewe’s are quite small, so I think that’s the best way for them to go.

“But it’s tricky because they have to come out and attack and that may well help Crewe because of the way they play.”

The Railwaymen head to Roots Hall with a 1-0 lead after Adam Dugdale headed home Ashley Westwood’s free-kick at the start of the second half.

And Beagrie felt Blues boss Paul Sturrock would have been furious by the manner of the goal.

“It was very poor from a defensive point of view,” said Beagrie.

“Sean Clohessy is in there not marking anybody, Bilel Mohsni reacts too late to Dugdale and I think the keeper could have done better too.

“It wasn’t good at all from Southend and Paul Sturrock can’t be pleased.”

Northampton Town manager Aidy Boothroyd also watched the game as part of Sky’s punditry team and he felt Blues’ most influential players were not at their best.

“Southend would have wanted more from Bilel Mohsni, who I felt had their best chance, and Kane Ferdinand was quiet too,” said Boothroyd.

“They didn’t see enough from Ryan Hall either and I’m sure Michael Timlin will be disappointed with the chances he missed because he’s normally very good technically.

“But it’s still only 1-0 so Southend have a chance to get through and it could have been a tie-saving tackle from Luke Prosser right at the end.”